Back in 2017 we had a newsletter item about a trial program in Perth where people with solar panels could sell their excess power to each other but not back to the grid.
It raised a lot of interesting ideas about the use of ‘blockchain’ software and the balancing of supply and demand of electricity.
Since then a lot has been happening in this space and a recent article on the ABC by Hannah Sinclair, prompted a relook at what is going on.
(See Hannah Sinclair’s article here: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-08-19/virtual-power-plants-the-future-of-solar-power/12570544)
The original trial was designed to test the concept of buying and selling electricity by individual consumers and solar panel owners in a secure and reliable way. The more recent trial is pushing this further.
Think of a network of homes in an area with solar panels and batteries as a ‘virtual’ power station. This is then coupled with the software for community buying and selling of electricity to create a smart grid.
Currently the trial programs in WA are within individual strata communities. The next step is to make it available across whole suburbs to improve reliability of the grid and bring down prices in the future.
In another example Victoria has introduced their Microgrid Demonstration Initiative (MDI). This was announced sometime back but practical demonstration microgrid projects have since been getting underway.
If you are interested in this subject go to the Vic Gov website: https://www.energy.vic.gov.au/renewable-energy/microgrids