Australian Start-up Launches Distributed Energy Exchange

Sophie Vorrath of RenewEconomy describes a new distributed energy exchange by GreenSync that facilitates energy transactions between businesses, households, communities and utilities.

Melbourne-based tech start-up GreenSync has officially launched its potentially game-changing trading platform for distributed energy resources – a technology the Australian Energy Market Operator says will be key to grid stability as another summer approaches and as old coal power continues to exit the NEM and more and more variable renewable energy generation is added.

First revealed in its pilot phase in February this year, the platform – called deX, or Decentralised Energy Exchange – is an open exchange where energy capacity can be transacted between businesses, households, communities and utilities, and which promises to transform Australia’s energy industry.

The official unveiling, at an event held in Melbourne on Thursday night, had the enthusiastic backing of AEMO – AEMO chief Audrey Zibelman delivered a keynote address – as well as some of the nation’s biggest energy market players, including major network operators, gen-tailers, and retailers.

Speaking at the event, GreenSync CEO Dr Phil Blythe revealed the deX’s 37 industry partners and stakeholders – including AGL Energy, EnergyAustralia, United Energy, SA PowerNetworks, ActewAGL and the newly added Energy Queensland.

Other key partners include global tech giants like Tesla, Siemens and ABB, as well as local smart energy innovators Geli and WattWatchers.

The GreenSync model is particularly promising precisely because of this broad range of support and collaboration the company has gathered over the past six months, including a partnership with Energy Networks Australia that is working on the development of national connection standards.

DeX also has the backing of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, with grant funding announced in February after the platform’s initial development through ARENA’s integration innovation program, A-Lab.

This network gives GreenSync a major footing in the potentially huge national – and international – demand response market, which AEMO’s Ziebelman has said will be vital in the transformation of grids from centralised hub-and-spoke models, to nimble, renewables-based networks where a wide variety distributed energy resources are shared, stored and traded.

As Blythe explains, deX can be applied to the distributed renewable energy market at a very small level – such as one suburban street, as the company is currently trialling with UnitedEnergy on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula.

Or, it can be applied at a much larger scale, such as to encompass the rooftop solar of a whole state, something the company is working to do in its most recently announced deal with Energy Queensland. It has another major state/territory-wide collaboration in the works, that it expects to announce in coming months.

But ultimately, says Blythe, the idea is that all of the distributed resources across the country would be enrolled in markets like this.

That amounts to a potentially huge amount of generation capacity – much of it currently “invisible” to the energy market operator – that could be used to help balance the grid. According to the Clean Energy Regulator’s latest data, Australia has installed a total of 6GW (6,000MW) of small-scale renewable energy generators to date – 5.9GW of it rooftop solar.

In the large-scale renewables market, meanwhile, there is massive 20GW of capacity currently sitting in the development pipeline.

“This is the first time that industry has come together in this way,” said Blythe. “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 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.”

This article originally appeared on RenewEconomy and was reposted with permission.

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Elisa Wood About Elisa Wood

Elisa Wood is the chief editor of MicrogridKnowledge.com. She has been writing about energy for more than two decades for top industry publications. Her work also has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal Online and the Washington Post.

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