An innovative new distributed energy platform designed to help electricity networks better utilise the increasing penetration of Distributed Energy Resources (DER) in the electricity grid, while helping consumers benefit from selling their generation could be available within three years.
On behalf of the Australian Government, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has committed $10 million in funding to Australian energy tech company GreenSync Pty Ltd to accelerate the deployment of the Decentralised Energy Exchange (deX) software platform.
Designed as an open access software platform, deX is “middleware” that will allow consumer energy assets to be registered and visible to the grid. The platform will be technology agnostic and open to all technology providers, networks and retailers as well as market bodies.
deX aims to become a digital marketplace that allows home and commercial building-based energy assets and appliances such as solar PV, batteries, smart air conditioners and hot water systems to bid into the market to be used for a range of grid services such as managing frequency, providing energy for the wholesale market and reducing network constraints.
deX will provide visibility and control of DER services that conform to the operational requirements of the distribution network and unlock new value for energy consumers while supporting the grid’s transition to a predominantly renewable future.
The $32 million platform rollout is expected to be a critical enabler for the growing DER and renewable energy industry in Australia and globally.
Initially created through a collaboration of utilities and technology companies during an ARENA A-Lab event in 2016, ARENA subsequently provided GreenSync with $450,000 in funding to develop and pilot the deX prototype in the ACT and Victoria.
deX has delivered its first production release and now has nearly 100 organisations and utility partners across 20 countries.
In South Australia, deX is now being used by Simply Energy and SAPN as the software platform for their virtual power plant trial funded by ARENA.
This further funding will help GreenSync to scale up deX to be rolled out nationally.
ARENA CEO Darren Miller said deX has the potential to be a key pathway for ensuring DER can be integrated into the grid, and would play a role in transforming Australia’s electricity market into a two-way, decentralised modern grid.
“Studies indicate that virtual power plants could account for 700 MW of capacity by 2022 and consumer-owned distributed energy could account for up to 45 per cent of all generation within two decades.
“In a rapidly evolving energy market and growth in consumer energy, GreenSync through their deX platform is addressing vital issues with DER including physical integration and visibility with the grid, ensuring network limits are considered when dispatching, and achieving financial market integration to ensure value is maximised for consumers that own DER.
“The deX platform is an exciting project for ARENA in that this project was initially developed at an A-Lab session in consultation with energy companies, was piloted and is now in the final stages of being rolled out as a commercial product that could change the way energy is bought and sold in the future.” Mr Miller said.
GreenSync CEO Phil Blythe said, “We welcome this investment that enables the Australian electricity industry to transition to a decentralised energy system. As Australia is leading the charge with this technology globally, GreenSync sees a significant export opportunity for this and other innovative energy technologies in the deX ecosystem to meet the challenge of powering our grids by 100% renewables.”