‘Great value proposition’: Australia’s electricity market volatility attracts UK’s GridBeyond

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Growing electricity supply volatility and the rising demand for distributed energy solutions in Australia were among the motivations for UK-headquartered smart energy company GridBeyond to set up offices there.

Energy-Storage.news heard from representatives of GridBeyond, which already has operations in the UK, Ireland, USA and Japan, that there is a “great value proposition” the company’s suite of services including energy storage asset optimisation can target in Australia’s National Electricity Market (NEM).

GridBeyond will roll out its technology platform into the NEM, which covers five Australian states and offers wholesale market opportunities and is where frequency control ancillary services (FCAS) to balance the grid are procured.

Alongside energy storage services, optimisation for generation assets, demand response and virtual power plant (VPP) services will also be areas where the company is looking to acquire customers for the artificial intelligence-driven platform.

These could include commercial and industrial (C&I) customers and EV fleet operators which could gain access to grid-balancing market opportunities.

“There is a great value proposition in Australia taking into account its electricity consumption, the size of the industrial activity and the huge amount of volatility present,” the GridBeyond representative told Energy-Storage.news.

“Probably the biggest concern amongst consumers and stakeholders in the Australian market is the protection from energy price volatility and controlling electricity costs. Some of the Australian states are in the top five most volatile markets worldwide, so this is a huge concern to be addressed. If you have a good wholesale market price forecasting model backing the activity of the battery, it can be a very effective vehicle for volatility protection and/or creating revenue through arbitrage, for example,” the representative said, adding that FCAS markets generate additional revenues which can help to further offset electricity costs.

As more renewables go online in Australia, the need for fast frequency services that help match generation with demand and maintain the frequency – and therefore stability – of the grid will continue to go up.

Recent and ongoing changes to the NEM’s regulations, rules and structure are also enabling renewables and battery storage to outcompete fossil fuels, particularly coal generation, as the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) that designs the market increasingly values the fast response times and ability to digitally control batteries and other distributed energy resources (DER).

GridBeyond sees FCAS as very similar in scope and requirements to Ireland’s DS3 grid services market that it already has extensive experience in, while its work in the UK to date has encompassed other service provisions that it feels will stand it in good stead like capacity and balancing markets. It has delivered these in both behind-the-meter and in front-of-the-meter applications.

“GridBeyond has developed an AI-based trading platform that is able to combine several forecasters, variables, parameters and constraints into its algorithms and solvers to further optimise trading opportunities in an automated way, so this is a key source of value in a market with such high wholesale market price volatility levels,” the representative said of the Australia launch.

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