Transforming electricity grids into marketplaces


Australian start up GreenSync has a vision to connect “millions of decentralised energy resources to create a more resilient and efficient energy network.” The company plans on doing so through its new distributed energy exchange which will facilitate energy transactions between businesses, households, communities and utilities.

Distributed energy resources and an energy exchange are key to grid stability according to the Australian Energy Market Operator and in this, the Decentralised Energy Exchange (deX) will operate as an open exchange where energy capacity can be transacted between businesses, households, communities and utilities. The cloud-based, load control system manages extreme demand, effectively creating a virtual power plant.

GreenSync CEO Phil Blythe said: “This is an opportunity born from our current energy crisis. deX provides a framework to increase customer value, improve system reliability and manage the transition to a renewable energy future.

“I think the industry and the community have been waiting for this and it shows in the level of interest in just six months. We’ve taken all the feedback and we’re unveiling a model that works for everyone,” he said.

“We’re painting a vision for how we see deX playing an instrumental role in allowing a framework for every industry partner and participant to be able to contract distributed resources similar to the way our wholesale markets work today.

“Eventually it should encompass all distributed resources.”

Industry partners

The energy exchange has 37 industry partners such as AGL Energy, EnergyAustralia, United Energy, SA PowerNetworks, ActewAGL and Energy Queensland. Additionally, the company is working with technology companies such as Tesla, Siemens and ABB.

Energy Networks Australia is working on the development of national connection standards, while the Australian Renewable Energy Agency is providing grant funding.

Importantly, the deX can be applied to the distributed renewable energy market at a very small level – such as one suburban street. Or it can be applied on a much larger scale, such as to encompass the rooftop solar of a whole state.

This was recently demonstrated through an announcement with Energy Queensland’s Energy Services division to create Australia’s biggest virtual power plant.

Treasurer Curtis Pitt officially launched the virtual power plant on 31 August, saying that the VPP was a cloud-based, load control system created to manage extreme electricity demand during severe temperature events.

“This virtual power plant system will have a positive impact on the affordability, reliability and sustainability of electricity supply during these severe events,” he continued.

“In doing this, Energy Queensland is helping make businesses more competitive while also stimulating the economy. The virtual power plant will make a difference to everyday Queenslanders through helping to reduce market volatility and, ultimately, energy prices.

“The deployment of this technology over the coming months and years is also going to require a significant workforce for installation with the majority of work being completed by local, regional small businesses and Energy Queensland’s internal labour force where applicable.” Energy Queensland’s executive general manager for Energy Services Charles Rattray said the long-term partnership between Energy Queensland and GreenSync would allow Energy Services to innovate and deliver the best possible solutions for customers.

“Energy Queensland’s Energy Services division was launched to lead new technology deployment to focus on putting downward pressure on costs for customers, improving security of supply and facilitating the uptake of renewable energy sources,” he said.

“We are seeking to manufacture some of the hardware required to deliver this new technology right here in Queensland.

“Under this partnership, we are enrolling customers into the virtual power plant platform ahead of peak summer demand.

“This innovative approach will also increase network resilience through increased automation and speed of response, grouping assets as portfolios to react to challenges and seize opportunities.” Blythe concluded by saying that it was great to see Energy Queensland looking to technology to create innovative solutions for distributed energy across Queensland.

“The application of this technology is going to underpin the broader strategy for Energy Queensland and set the foundation for their energy future.” MI