Enel X is investing in a program with the South Australian government to unlock the potential for cheaper more reliable electricity, with backup generator upgrades across 40 South Australian businesses.
The $4 million Backup Boost Program will connect businesses’ backup generators to support grid supply and demand management, and is designed to deliver more affordable and reliable electricity to South Australian households and small to medium businesses.
Head of Enel X Asia and Oceania, Jeff Renaud, said there is significant latent demand response capability in South Australia, which can be captured relatively quickly to address system security, reliability and affordability concerns.
“Participating businesses will use their backup generator as a flexible asset in the energy market. This allows them to actively manage energy consumption and costs, earn revenue and maximise their investment in backup generation. Increasing use of these assets which can lay idle means better use of capital.”
“Our focus is on behind the meter generators and how they can create value in the wholesale market and support grid security.”
“The program will contribute to electricity system reliability and provide network benefits by reducing excessive electricity demand during peak periods. This is done by switching from grid power to onsite backup generation. This brings wholesale market affordability benefits for all South Australian energy users,” Renaud said.
The project funding – $2 million each from the State Government and Enel X – will go toward physical and software requirements to connect businesses.
Minister for Energy and Mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan said the program will benefit participating businesses and the broader system.
“Enabling local businesses to fire up their backup generators and supply the electricity market will add a revenue stream for the businesses and deliver lower prices for everyone else.”
“The plan to use backup generation that are virtually idle mirrors the Marshall Government’s decision to allow the State Government’s 276 megawatts of backup generation to operate in the electricity market.”
“It is common sense to make use of resources that are currently under-utilised for the benefit of both the owners of the assets and the wider community,” he added.
The program will bring approximately 20 megawatts of demand side generation capacity into the National Electricity Market (NEM) over the three-year trial.
The initiative is suited to small to medium sized commercial and industrial businesses across agribusiness, food processing, health, manufacturing, data storage and more.
Once the program is active, Enel X will be able to remotely access a business’ generator with the aim of seamlessly managing use to ensure on-site activity is not disrupted. The generator will only be accessed when wholesale prices spiked or if there were grid security issues.
The trial will cement South Australia as a world leader in addressing the challenges of a changing energy generation mix, and will capture the opportunities associated with a more active demand side.
Enel X is currently looking for more businesses to join the Backup Boost program, with no upfront costs to business looking to participate.