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Australia trials concept of "virtual power plants”

Mar 01, 2017, 4:56 AM EST
(Source: Michael Coghlan/flickr)
(Source: Michael Coghlan/flickr)

In an innovative, government-backed initiative Australia is testing a project, called Distributed Energy Exchange, which allows small-scale businesses and households to rent out their solar generation and storage capacity.

The concept of trading locally generated and stored solar power holds the potential to spur a major shake-up in the country’s energy market while helping the Australian grid to smooth erratic supply and demand, notes Microgrid Knowledge.

Experts describe the concept as a virtual power plant, which uses software and battery storage from isolated solar panels, to create a single large source capable of meeting significant energy demands, writes MIT Technology Review.

Although similar virtual power plants have been trialed in Germany and the U.S., the world is yet to see a large-scale deployment of such systems, something that may change if Australia succeeds in its experiment. 

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