The Hume and upper Murray regions will lead the nation in an Australian-first with a $28 million trial to demonstrate how a future energy market could operate.
Conducted by AusNet Services – the local energy distributor and Mondo – one of the organisations responsible for renowned Yackandandah community mini-grid, this trial could lead to reduced electricity costs for customers, and a more resilient, reliable energy network.
Supported by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), The EDGE (Energy Demand and Generation Exchange) Project seeks to recruit over 1,000 homes and businesses to participate in the three-year trial, commencing in 2021.
This trial will be focused on the Hume region of North-East Victoria, an area which includes towns such as Yackandandah and Euroa, which have already been pioneering community energy programs and have bold renewables goals.
Australia is home to the highest adoption of rooftop solar in the world. This rapid uptake has given homeowners and businesses the benefits of lower power bills and less reliance on fossil-fuels, however it is causing increasing challenges for managing and maintaining energy networks. This is compounded by the growing numbers of batteries and electric vehicles
Currently those with rooftop solar can ‘sell’ their surplus solar energy back to the grid in return for a small payment known as a ‘feed in tariff’. This tariff has decreased over time in step with an increase in solar adoption. The EDGE project will evolve this model by testing technologies and market mechanisms to create a smart energy grid where small scale energy generators and consumers are in constant real-time communication. This smarter grid could see rooftop solar systems combining virtually to compete with the output of a traditional power station – leading to better financial returns for homes and businesses and more efficient utilisation of renewables.
An integral part of this trial is the Ubi Energy Management Platform, a hardware and software solution developed by Mondo, which not only provides localised energy monitoring and management but can connect to a centralised system to enable widespread coordination of assets like rooftop solar.
“It’s going to be really exciting to see homes and businesses connected virtually through Ubi and operating as a single energy system. This is the leap we need to make to ensure energy users have more choice in the way they engage with the energy network, whilst still maintaining a robust, reliable, affordable power grid for all.” – Jodie Hallam GM of Energy Services at Mondo.