Distributed energy resources are continuing to play a critical role in the transition of the energy system in Australia, and they are only going to become more prevalent in the future. A new program from Endeavour Energy is exploring the impact of distributed energy resources on the grid, and helping customers understand how they can take advantage of the benefits they provide.

The rapid growth of cities is a powerful driver of sustainable and innovative solutions. Endeavour Energy, which powers more than 2.6 million homes and businesses, sits in the heart of Sydney’s burgeoning epicentre, Western Sydney.

It’s a region that’s expected to increase by more than one million people over the next few decades and is already the third biggest economy in Australia.

This presents an opportunity for Endeavour Energy to accelerate a transition to a modern grid and deliver a suite of solutions to make energy more efficient for customers while harnessing the rapid uptake of renewables.

As we work towards net zero, by 2030, we expect around 40 per cent of Endeavour Energy customers will have solar panels and around 20 percent will have an electric vehicle. Yet without an appropriate demand management system, these Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) can put a strain on supply and complicate future network planning.

For this reason, Endeavour Energy, in partnership with Schneider Electric, recently re-launched its PowerSavers program. Building on the success of the 18-month pilot program, launched in 2020, the new PowerSavers initiative will involve customers trialling new technologies and eligible devices will be managed across a centralised digital platform to reduce energy usage.

According to Leanne Pickering, Endeavour Energy’s Chief Customer and Strategy Officer, managing enrolled devices will help increase the reliability of the electricity network, while driving sustainable outcomes and ultimately lowering power bills for customers. She said the more devices customers connect to PowerSavers, the more they can save.

“PowerSavers will help reduce outages when demand is high, for example on a hot summer’s day, as it will allow us to create a steady supply of electricity when our customers need it the most,” she said. “We want to empower customers to have a say in how they use and control energy from their smart household devices and reward them for it.”

Along with Schneider Electric, Endeavour Energy is also partnering with AutoGrid, Clipsal Solar, JET Charge, Sensibo, Solahart and SolarEdge to enable management of the DERs within the platform.

Schneider Electric’s Pacific Zone President, Gareth O’Reilly, welcomed the program. “Schneider Electric is delighted to support the PowerSavers program, together with our partners AutoGrid and Clipsal Solar.

Endeavour Energy’s customer engagement on its grid transformation journey is key to creating flexibility, accelerating decarbonisation, and increasing renewables to lower energy costs,” he said.

A key element of the program is smart air conditioners, where the units are remotely controlled through a sensibo smart thermostat device.

How it works

This innovative program will manage energy consumption during certain peak times of the year for smart split air conditioning systems, hot water systems, residential batteries, solar arrays, and electric vehicles.

Once customers are enrolled and their devices connected to the program, Endeavour Energy can initiate Demand Response (DR) Events through the AutoGrid FlexTM platform from Schneider Electric.

The platform notifies customers and sends dispatch signals to systems like Clipsal Solar which remotely controls the smart devices during the Events, sending data to the platform, reporting status, compliance, and performance of each device.

Through controlling many types of DERs, Endeavour Energy not only increases the total amount of flexibility available, but can actively manage both peak and minimum demand.

The platform also unlocks the ability for Endeavour Energy to create opportunities and potentially access all the DERs connected to the network in the future through a single access point.

The largest use case of the project is direct load control for smart air conditioners where the units are remotely controlled through a Sensibo smart thermostat device installed alongside a customer’s air conditioning unit.

Having a core platform for control and working with companies like Sensibo, is the most effective way to enrol large numbers of DERs into utility programs.

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