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 have rooftop solar installed, equivalent to almost two gigawatts of renewable energy generation. Collectively, this represents the largest source of electricity generation on the SWIS and AEMO’s 2022 ESOO forecasts the installed rooftop solar capacity to more than double in the coming 10 years.
While the widespread uptake of rooftop solar, battery storage and other forms of Distributed Energy Resources creates opportunities for a decarbonised energy landscape these outcomes are not achievable without effective coordination and integration of DER with the wholesale electricity market (WEM).
Project Symphony will ‘orchestrate’ approximately 900 DERs such as rooftop solar, batteries and large appliances across 500 homes and businesses into a Virtual Power Plant (VPP). Located in one of Perth’s most prevalent solar districts of Southern River, with almost 50 per cent of households hosting rooftop solar, the pilot will enable the aggregation and dispatch of electricity generated and stored by DER assets in a similar way to 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, removing any interference with the operation of the WEM.
The overall objective of Project Symphony is helping to 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 AEMO, Western Power and Synergy. Western Power as the Distributed System Operator (DSO), Synergy as the Aggregator, and as the established Market and System Operator in the SWIS and WEM, AEMO is taking on the role of the Distributed Market Operator (DMO). 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.