New Zealand will connect 3,000 home battery systems to the national grid to provide demand response services. The government has also set up a US$69 million finance company to accelerate investment in distributed energy generation and electric vehicles as part of its 2050 carbon neutral goals.
Although it already covers 85% of its electricity from renewables, New Zealand is ramping its efforts to further cut emissions. In this vein, the country has made two announcements over the past few days: (i) the launching of what is said to be the world’s largest virtual power plant (VPP); and (ii) the establishment of a NZ$100 million (US$69 million) Green Investment Finance facility.
Minister for Climate Change James Shaw disclosed the plans on December 1, at an event hosted by Solarcity in Auckland. To fulfil the first announcement, the New Zealand-based solar company connected 3,000 residential solar plus storage systems to the national grid.
Currently, it is the largest undertaking of its kind, given that a similar project in Australia with German battery specialist sonnen GmbH is still in the planning stages. “Australia says it plans to build the world’s largest virtual power station but we’re actually doing it now with our existing systems and we’re adding more every day,” said Solarcity CEO Andrew Booth.
The South Australian Home Battery scheme will see 40,000 South Australian households equipped with batteries, some of which will provided by sonnen, Eguana Technologies and Alpha ESS through local manufacturing capacities and connected to the VPP. To this end, sonnen has built a new built production facility, which aims to have a throughput of 10,000 battery systems per year.
Solarcity’s existing solar customers already generate 13.6 GWh of energy via batteries that can collectively store 18 MWh of power and prevent 2,230 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere annually. The company has said the VPP will make its energy available to Transpower’s Demand Response Programme and be remunerated accordingly.
“We have cemented our position as one of the world’s leading hubs for renewable energy. This is an example of Kiwi innovation at its best, world-leading battery technology backed by a smart green financing mechanism lowering energy bills for our communities, and delivering on a cleaner, green energy future for our nation,” said Shaw.
View all SMART GRID Bulletins click here