Energy Minister Mark Bailey has today announced an extension to an innovative battery storage and solar trial in Townsville.
Mr Bailey said the trial which uses new technology, batteries and solar PV to benefit Ergon’s network and potentially lower customers’ power bills has now entered its third stage.
“The trial will explore the advanced functionalities of new home energy management systems, battery storage, solar PV and a new tariff being trialled for the first time,” he said.
“This third stage is an opportunity to see if the combination of all four elements provides a win - a win for Ergon’s customers and its network.
“New batteries have been installed in the participating nine homes including a Tesla Powerwall in one of them, along with new advanced home energy management systems (HEMS). The batteries and HEMS are connected to existing solar PV systems installed in previous trial stages.
“The new HEMS are more advanced and with the batteries, will provide more control and the ability to provide real time information for customers to make decisions to reduce their energy consumption.”
Mr Bailey said at the core of the project is a new retail product – Tariff 14.
“Ergon believes this demand tariff together with the combination of the new batteries, solar and HEMS will give customers better price signals to take action and control their demand, avoid high cost impacts and therefore high bills,” he said.
“Participants will be provided with information around energy use behaviours to minimise their peak demand on a regular basis.
“This combination of ongoing engagement, technology and behaviour changes should lower participants’ average demand for the month which could translate into lower power bills.”
Barry Lowe who was one of the first to sign up to the original trial in 2011 said he’s keen to continue to be involved in stage three of the trial.
“Aesthetically the Powerwall is great. I hope it works well with the solar and the new HEMS which will give warnings or alerts as you get into pre-determined power consumption and you can use that information to change your behaviour and turn off appliances for set periods of time if you wish to,” he said.
Mr Bailey said Queensland’s government-owned energy businesses are at the forefront of testing new storage technologies, which will play a key role in the successful integration of renewable energy into the energy mix.
“They are leading the way nationally,” he said.
“Ergon Energy is also conducting their ‘Hybrid Energy Trial’ with 33 homes across Townsville, Cannonvale and Toowoomba and a product that pairs solar panels and battery storage equipment. This valuable work is proving that batteries do provide customers value and can be used as a virtual power plant.”
“It is pleasing to see the wave of innovation in this space supported by the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to increasing the update of renewable energy, including the success of Queensland-based innovation firms Redback Technologies and Tritium."
Stage three of Ergon’s network trial will continue throughout 2017.