Project Symphony is an exciting and innovative project in Western Australia (WA) where consumer distributed energy resources or DERs such as rooftop solar, batteries, and other major appliances, like air conditioning and pool pumps, will be orchestrated as a Virtual Power Plant (VPP) to participate in a future energy market, unlocking greater economic and environmental benefits for customers and the wider community.
Project Symphony - WA’s largest DER Orchestration Pilot - is a key workstream of AEMO’s WA DER Program which has been established to support the effective integration of DER into the Wholesale Electricity Market (WEM) and the South West Interconnected System (SWIS) as outlined in the Western Australian Government’s DER Roadmap, published in April 2020.
In WA, more than one in three households now have rooftop solar installed, equivalent to almost two gigawatts of renewable energy generation. Collectively, this represents the largest source of electricity generation on the South West Interconnected System (SWIS). The uptake of rooftop solar is expected to continue accelerating towards one in two households by 2030.
While the widespread uptake of rooftop solar creates opportunities for a decarbonised energy landscape, the pace of this transition also presents new challenges such as low daytime demand and variable generation.
Project Symphony will ‘orchestrate’ approximately 900 DERs such as rooftop solar, batteries and large appliances across 500 homes and businesses into a VPP. Located in one of Perth’s most prevalent solar districts of Southern River, with almost 50 per cent of households having rooftop solar, it will aggregate and then dispatch electricity generated by the DER assets to the network in the same way as a traditional power plant.
To facilitate this DER integration, the project team will design, procure, develop, implement and test software based ‘platforms’ capable of registering, aggregating and orchestrating customer DER to provide both on-market and off-market services. All this will be via a simulated market, separate to the market operating in the WEM.
The overall objective of Project Symphony is that it will help better understand how DER can be integrated to provide a safe, reliable and efficient electricity system, where the full capabilities of DER can provide sustainable benefits and value to all customers.
Project Symphony is a collaboration between Western Power as the DSO, Synergy, as the aggregator and AEMO as the WEM Market and System Operator. We are also working closely with the Western Australian Government, as Project Symphony is a key deliverable of the State’s DER Roadmap and Energy Transformation Strategy.
In addition to WA State funding, Project Symphony has also received support from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) as part of ARENA’s Advanced Renewables Program. The views expressed herein are not necessarily the views of the Australian Government, and the Australian Government does not accept responsibility for any information or advice herein.