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AGL "Virtual Power Plant" offer

Vostok

Active Member
Jul 1, 2017
1,938
2,086
Sydney
A few weeks ago I got an email from AGL introducing their "Virtual Power Plant" (VPP) offer, for which the pitch said "can help take pressure off the grid with your solar battery, and earn up to $280 in AGL bill credits." It only currently works with Tesla PW2 and LG Chem RESU.

I downloaded the agreement, at it takes a bit of digging to find out exactly what permissions you are giving to AGL to access your battery!
  • $100 sign on credit and 49.32 c/day ($180 per year)
  • Under the agreement, AGL can draw power down from your battery up to 30 times ("VPP Events") in 1 year. They say it will be a period of time typically less than an hour but which may be up to 10 hours in duration.
  • The agreement does not specify how much power can or will be drawn down during a "VPP Event", but that it will not draw down below 20% of useable energy storage capacity.
  • AGL will not tell you when VPP events occur (although you could work it out from the Tesla app when the battery is discharging to the grid!)
I wonder how many people will take this up. Some simple maths: the worst case is AGL would take 80% of your battery 30 times a year, or around 320 kWh. Presumably this would be taken during peak periods, since the grid is unlikely to require the "pressure" to be taken off at 4am! So that electricity (depending on TOU rateplan) retails at somewhere between $130 and $180. But of course that also means that they are getting that electricity, not you, so if you happened to need that electricity during the same time TOU period, you're going to be buying from the grid at the same peak rate, and you'll be no better off.

Unless my logic is faulty, I think they'd have to significantly up the VPP purchase rate to make it compelling.
 

Hairyman

Member
Jul 24, 2019
876
470
Australia
The underlying premise seems to be that you will have a nadir in your electricity consumption just at the time when everyone else is having a peak. They are not dummies so I’d be very interested in seeing the difference in consumption models between households with solar & battery and the rest of the AGL grid.
 

Hairyman

Member
Jul 24, 2019
876
470
Australia
Having said that they may be trying to take advantage of the lucrative grid frequency stabilisation market opportunities batteries present. The big battery in SA has been making a fortune out of this and also produced a big reduction in the price for those services.
 

Vostok

Active Member
Jul 1, 2017
1,938
2,086
Sydney
Having said that they may be trying to take advantage of the lucrative grid frequency stabilisation market opportunities batteries present. The big battery in SA has been making a fortune out of this and also produced a big reduction in the price for those services.
Exactly... immediately dispatchable electricity supply is an extremely premium product at times of grid stress... which is why if I am to become part of the generator mix at times of “pressure”, I should be paid a premium price. I’m not convinced the above offer is that, so for the first time in dealing with an electricity supplier, I feel like I have the upper hand, because they want something I got :D
 
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Disappointing that AGL would even offer this but I guess some people will take it. Most people will not be aware that these events occur when the wholesale market cap occurs which is a lot higher than this offer.

I really wish the market was simplified so feed in is 50% of your tariff. This may push people to batteries and TOU. Exception in this case should be if the grid requests supply then the feed in should be at least 50% of the wholesale price (probably market cap). Problem for AGL is if this was instigated lots of people would buy batteries and the number of events would be very low, they would also not get as much return on their gas peeking plants.
 

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