The New Zealand government has an aggressive target “that 90 percent of electricity generation be from renewable sources by 2025”*, which means there’s a clear imperative to deploy infrastructure fast, including DER assets.
Counties Power and Gridcognition launch distributed energy pilot
EnergyLab’s Scaleup Program has delivered its first clean energy collaboration, with New Zealand-based energy utility Counties Power and energy data startup Gridcognition launching a pilot study to understand large scale distributed energy resources (DER) opportunities on the Counties Power’s network.
The collaboration will initially see Gridcognition create a sophisticated ‘digital twin’ for different types of distributed energy assets for three potential pilot sites. This study will assist in understanding how large scale DERs can efficiently integrate with the distribution network. It will model different energy needs and profiles for a solar-equipped (and energy-hungry) manufacturing plant, a utility-scale renewable energy generation site, and a commercial building with solar generation and battery storage.
The ‘digital twins’ created by Gridcognition will be used to understand the customer benefits of each site’s distributed energy assets and the way they are operated, including a virtual power plant model, demand response programs and microgrids. These models will calculate and compare energy system options, and explore the impact of variations in energy market and climate conditions, ultimately providing evidence of viability for such non-network solutions.
Counties Power believes this study will be transformative in improving the ability for market actors to implement distributed energy solutions, unlocking a promising wave of growth: “Our involvement with EnergyLab has fostered a collaboration with Gridcognition to develop smart solutions for our distributed energy offerings. We look forward to enabling larger penetration of distributed energy resources on our network to modernise and unlock further renewable generation alternatives with intelligent systems for control and management.” said Vivek Rajendran, Counties Power General Manager, Strategy and Business Development.
For Gridcognition, this collaboration project opens doors to new electricity markets: “It’s great to be working with Counties Power, one of NZ’s most innovative energy businesses, to optimise the design and commercial outcomes of their future distributed energy projects. We’re excited to extend our support to a third electricity market jurisdiction.” said Gridcognition CEO, Fabian Le Gay Brereton.
EnergyLab CEO James Tilbury commended both parties on the hard work that led to this outcome: “We’re delighted to see a contract being signed between a program participant and partner only two months after the Scaleup Program started. This is unusually fast for the energy sector and is testament to the value of Gridcognition’s offering and Counties Power’s dedication to innovation.”
EnergyLab’s Scaleup Program focuses on making strategic connections between energy startups and industry leaders to accelerate the uptake of clean energy technologies. Set to graduate in February 2021, the program’s inaugural cohort is profiled on the EnergyLab website: https://energylab.org.au/startups#rec210592519