Plico Team 15/02/2024 10 min read

Plico stabilises the grid for both minimum and peak demand

As Western Australia manages a hot dry summer, the Plico community is on standby to activate its Virtual Power Plant (VPP) during possible peak demand episodes.   

Plico’s VPP has again been engaged by the energy system operator AEMO to provide additional MW capacity to the grid through hundreds of its customer solar and battery systems.   

Yet another unrivaled first, Plico CEO Mr Robbie Campbell said this summer will be another milestone for the award-winning Australian business, being the only energy services provider engaged to act as contingency support in both a minimum demand and peak demand settings, using clean energy. 

The VPP has already successfully supplied additional power to offset high household demand that would’ve otherwise strained the grid.  Now we’re also stabilising the grid by doing the opposite, which truly demonstrates the power of the Plico VPP as a future solution to manage grid fluctuations and as a blackout prevention,” Campbell said. 

Over the next 12 months Plico and Synergy are working together to activate a minimum demand solution, which is the state’s first minimum demand VPP.  A minimum demand activation occurs during a mild sunny day when there is low demand for energy but high supply of solar energy.   

A peak demand activation occurs when there is a combination of high temperatures, high-power usage, and existing low power reserves.   

This will be the second summer Plico’s VPP will be on peak demand standby, with its first successful activations occurring in January and February 2023, where using cutting-edge technology, all Plico systems acted as one giant battery to export energy to the grid during peak usage. 

“We’re proud to be called upon to provide grid stabilisation solutions in both oversupply and undersupply situations,” Mr Campbell said. 

“Energy fluctuations are significantly challenging in maintaining a stable and reliable grid, so to avoid disruptions to homes and businesses during such events, we’ve been testing a minimum demand solution with Synergy, while also mobilising our usual peak demand solution,” he said. 

The spring of 2023 created two new records for WA with rooftop solar generation hitting a record of 76.3% of total supply, while demand bottomed out at 595.1 MW just after midday on the public holiday of the 25 September, according to AEMO. 

According to AEMO the unprecedented November heatwave drove high demand and caused Western Australia’s main power grid, the South West Interconnected System (SWIS), to set a new electricity demand record of 4,041 MW on Thursday evening 23 November 2023. The previous record was 4,006 MW on 8 Feb 2016. 

The recent summer heatwaves have also put a strain on grid energy supply; springing Plico's VPP into action. 

“To turn the heatwave into something good and provide clean energy back to the grid so houses don’t lose power, is why we exist.  In a world where we demand action on climate change and being less reliant on fossil fuels, this is an opportunity to demonstrate the true power of a VPP, all through sunlight and battery storage,” Campbell said. 

The growing Plico fleet currently has an aggregated battery of 17.8 MWh and will make as much of this capacity available to the WA grid when there is peak demand. This is one of the most significant contributions ever made by an activated VPP aggregator (outside of trials) to the energy market across Australia. 

Plico has grown since our inception in 2019, and we now install approximately one in four solar + battery systems in WA.

A VPP is a collection of associated individual, independent household solar and battery systems, known as distributed energy resources (DER), that are united remotely to form a VPP.   

The Plico VPP uses cutting-edge technology to manage the VPP including Amp X who provides their proprietary VPP digital energy platform to enable monitoring, control and optimised dispatch of Plico’s systems. 


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