World News

AUS$3.7m grant to unlock flexible demand in refrigeration

AUSTRALIA: Enel X Australia has been awarded AUS$3.7m (US$2.5m) from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency to support flexible demand solutions in the small commercial and industrial refrigeration sectors.  

Commercial and industrial refrigeration provide an ideal source of flexible demand on a large scale, with an estimated 500MW of potential flexible demand in refrigeration across Australia’s National Electricity Market. 

The Unlocking Flexible Demand in the Commercial Refrigeration Sector programme will aggregate more than 20MW of flexible demand from businesses across Australia’s National Electricity Market.

Enel X operates Australia’s largest Virtual Power Plant which aggregates flexible demand, battery storage, backup generation and electric mobility resources to support the grid and firm the supply of renewable power. 

The company is recruiting 440 commercial refrigeration facilities across supermarket, grocery, beverage, convenience and last mile logistics to deliver much needed flexible demand capacity to support Australia’s renewable energy transition. The businesses involved will support the safe and reliable supply of electricity to all consumers and be financially rewarded for doing so via its Virtual Power Plant. 

Refrigeration, like other forms of heating and cooling, offers a valuable source of flexible demand due to the thermal mass of facilities maintaining temperature even when refrigerators and chillers are ramped down. Small changes to power usage can have a large impact when aggregated at scale, with no noticeable change for users or impact to product quality. Energy storage is one part of the equation but shifting demand away from peak times and reducing demand at critical times can complement this and reduce the overall cost of energy.

Enel X says it has engaged a leading grocery chain as an initial supermarket customer for this project with a 20-store pilot with potential to extend to up to 250 stores participating in the VPP.

Lineage Logistics’ refrigerated warehouses will also take part in the project at 13 refrigerated warehouse sites. Enel X is actively sourcing other businesses with varied refrigeration applications to participate in the program. 

“The energy market needs new ways to balance renewables, and businesses need new ways to reduce energy costs. With ARENA’s support, we will prove that small-scale refrigeration systems, when plugged into a Virtual Power Plant, can make a large-scale contribution to the renewable energy transition,” said Enel X APAC MD Jeff Renaud.

Related Articles

Back to top button