Oil & Gas

02 Mar 2023

Shell Energy Adds Last of 16 Solar Batteries to “Landmark” Virtual Power Plant

02 Mar 2023  by   

Dept of Planning and Environment deputy secretary Leon Walker (left) and PDNSW ESG executive director Peter Graham (right). Image supplied

Sixteen regional commercial New South Wales government offices will soon act as a rooftop solar fuelled virtual power plant, as the last of 16 battery systems are installed for the landmark project.

The innovative VPP, installed and operated by Shell Energy in partnership with the NSW state government, has been designed to aggregate the battery storage units as a grid stabilising or bolstering resource.

The initiative by Property & Development NSW (PDNSW) will use the batteries to store excess solar output and feed up to 1,280kWh of energy back into the electricity network during peak demand periods.

“This is enough energy to keep up to 1,000 household air-conditioners running on a hot summer day when the electricity grid is under stress,” says Department of Planning and Environment deputy secretary Leon Walker.

“So far, 13 of our regional commercial office sites have installed the new batteries, with the final three due to be installed and switched on by June,” he said.

Walker says the project represents a major milestone in the Perrottet government’s net-zero efforts, just as it heads into caretaker mode ahead of the state election later this month.

The costs of the project have been jointly funded between PDNSW and the NSW Office of Energy and Climate Change’s Smart Batteries for Key Government Buildings initiative.

The latter initiative was established to support the installation of battery storage at schools, hospitals and other government buildings with rooftop solar systems.

Shell Energy – the oil major’s renewables and energy solutions business in Australia and owner of renewables focused retailer Powershop – has a $3.2 billion contract with the NSW government to to supply the electricity needs for state-owned hospitals, schools and other buildings.

Underpinning this deal in early 2021 was the plan for Shell and Edify Energy to build a 100MW/200MWh big battery next to Edify’s Darlington Point solar, in the state’s Riverina region.

As part of that project, Shell signed a contract with Edify for a 60MW/120MWh component of the Riverina battery as part of its “firming” offer for the NSW government.

But smaller batteries will have a key role to play on the grid, too. And Shell will control and operate the NSW government building VPP, using it to provide services to stabilise demand and supply.

“Shell Energy has developed a solution that will enable PDNSW to participate in and realise value from a rapidly decarbonising and digitised energy system,” said Shell Energy Australia CEO Greg Joiner on Thursday.

“We’re proud to be bringing our experience and capability in electricity, energy solutions and wholesale trading to help PDNSW offset costs as well as reduce carbon emissions across its property portfolio.”

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