Victorian utility to deploy distributed batteries to defer network upgrade costs

Victorian utility United Energy will partner with Melbourne start-up GreenSync to deliver a community-based demand response and energy storage project on the Mornington Peninsula, to defer the need for costly network upgrades in the popular tourist area.

GreenSync says the five-year project will engage and incentivise households, businesses and community groups from Rosebud to Portsea to reduce and/or shift their electricity usage.

According to GreenSync managing director Phil Blythe, the technologies used in the project will cover everything from solar PV to battery storage, to controlled load management, mostly of air-conditioning units, which are switched on by the tens of thousands during the Peninsula’s hot summers.

GreenSync will also engage local utilities and other larger commercial and industrial operations to control their discretionary loads.

Blythe says increasingly engaged customers have an expectation that network businesses will make prudent investment decisions that will benefit everyone and keep bills down.

“This is an instance where the community has challenged the utility to find a cheaper alternative than poles and wires,” Blythe told One Step Off The Grid last Thursday.

United Energy, who Blythe describes as “a progressive utility” has embraced that challenge.

“An important driver of our current and future strategy is the ability to leverage advanced technologies,” said United Energy CEO Tony Narvaez in a statement on Tuesday.

“Our partnership with GreenSync is another sign of our evolution from a traditional network distribution into an enabler of an innovative energy future,” he said.

The Mornington Peninsula Community Grids project will kick off this summer with a small-scale trial and then roll-out in full starting late 2018, GreenSync said.

© 2016 Solar Choice Pty Ltd