Virtual Power Plant (VPP) Demonstrations

AEMO’s VPP Demonstrations were a collaboration between AEMO and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC), the Australian Energy Regulator (AER), and members of the Distributed Energy Integration Program (DEIP).

The demonstrations were a first step in a broad program of work designed to inform changes to regulatory frameworks and operational processes so Distributed Energy Resources (DER) can be effectively integrated into the National Electricity Market (NEM), maximising value to consumers while also supporting power system security.

A virtual power plant (VPP) broadly refers to an aggregation of resources (such as decentralised generation, storage and controllable loads) coordinated to deliver services for power system operations and electricity markets.

VPP Demonstrations objectives

AEMO’s trial framework allowed VPPs to demonstrate their capability to deliver services in contingency FCAS (through a trial specification) and respond to energy market price signals. By trialling VPP operations while aggregated fleets remain of a small scale, the VPP Demonstrations were able to provide information regarding the effective integration of VPPs into the NEM before they reach large scale.

The VPP Demonstrations aimed to:

  • Allow VPPs to demonstrate their capability to deliver multiple value streams across FCAS, energy and potential network support services.
  • Provide AEMO with operational visibility to help AEMO consider how to integrate VPPs effectively into the NEM.
  • Assess current regulatory arrangements affecting participation of VPPs in energy and FCAS markets, and inform new or amended arrangements where appropriate.
  • Provide insights on how to improve consumers’ experience of VPPs in future.
  • Understand what cyber security measures VPPs currently implement, and whether their cyber security capabilities should be augmented in future.

VPP Demonstrations Insights

Throughout this trial, AEMO has had the opportunity to observe the behaviour and capabilities of VPPs. AEMO has developed four knowledge sharing reports that directly address the research questions outlined in the project Final Design document, along with additional insights. 

AEMO held public webinars in March 2021 and more recently in September 2021 to complement the knowledge sharing reports. Both webinars can be found below:

The VPP Demonstrations also sought to understand the consumer experience of those who choose to participate in a VPP. Customer Service Benchmarking Australia (CSBA) were engaged to support the consumer insights component, with an interim and final report prepared on behalf of AEMO to provide key insights for consideration by industry.

AEMO would like to thank all stakeholders who participated or showed an interest in this project. Industry collaboration through this project has been instrumental in developing a common understanding of VPPs’ current capabilities. Continued collaboration is a prerequisite as VPPs scale to agree and implement the future capabilities required that will facilitate a secure and operable power system in a high DER future.

Reference information for the VPP Demonstrations

Specific information, user guides and specifications were developed for the purpose of the VPP Demonstrations. This information is recorded below to provide an overview of the information that was required to support this demonstration, and the specific details of what was trialled within the VPP Demonstrations.  

VPP Demonstrations participants are reminded that during the period from 1 July 2021 until the commencement of the updated Market Ancillary Service Specification (MASS) document:

  • Participants will not be required to submit enrolment, operational and telemetry data and the APIs will be decommissioned. This has been decided as a result of participant feedback and reviewing AEMO’s internal requirements. 
  • No further portfolio updates will be accepted from 30 June 2021 until the updated MASS is applied.  
  • No new participants will be enrolled.

The MASS consultation has concluded with full details available on the MASS consultation page.

VPPs are required to meet the MASS v7.0 from the effective date on 1 February 2022 to participate in contingency FCAS markets.

Note that the documents below are no longer relevant to VPPs as the Demonstrations project has closed.

Enrolment and onboarding information:

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