The Load management trial is progressing well – we’re getting close to finishing all the installations in houses and businesses in Cobargo and will soon be able to move on to the next phase of the trial.
Update (12/12/2022): All the places in the load management have now been filled! Thanks to everyone who signed up or got in touch with us about the trial, and we should be finished with all the installations very soon.
The purpose of the trial is to twofold:
- To allow residents who participate to monitor their energy usage to better understand their power requirements and bills, and to allow them to control devices such as water heaters and air conditioners to potentially reduce their energy bills
- At a town level, to gather data on household energy requirements to help sizing the microgrid, and to trial the ability to temporarily turn off non-essential loads in the event of power outages when the town is running on backup power. This could potentially increase the duration that the town can run while the main grid is down, and reduce the overall cost of the project.
ITP Renewables is seeking expressions of interest for Cobargo residents or businesses to participate in a load management trial to help with the design of the Cobargo microgrid. ITP will be installing load control devices for free in up to 30 commercial or residential buildings in Cobargo. The load management trial will last for 1 year, and over this time we expect that up to 10 load control ‘events’ will be called. Most of the time you will be able to use the devices to monitor your electricity use and even manage your loads, so that you can reduce your electricity bills. The reason for conducting the trial is to see how much electricity use can be reduced at critical times, because this can help to reduce the size (and cost) of the generation needed to run the microgrid.
How many participants can take part in the trial?
A total of 30 participants, including a mix of residential and commercial buildings.
How will we choose who can participate?
If more than 30 residents and businesses express interest in being involved in the trial, we will select the buildings which have loads that best align with the capabilities of the load management device or devices we select.
What is a load control device?
A load control device is a device that limits or shifts the electricity usage of a household or particular appliance. The specific devices that will be used in the trial are still being selected. Some examples of devices are:
- Gswitch (Intelligent Automation): https://gswitch.com.au/
- CarbonTrack: https://carbontrack.com.au/
- WattWatchers: https://wattwatchers.com.au/
Will I be able to select the load control device?
ITP will select the load control devices that are best suited to controlling the available loads. We will try and take into account specific preferences however you may not be allocated your preferred device.
What types of loads will be controlled by the device?
The main focus will be on water heating (generally residential), refrigeration (generally commercial) and air conditioning (A/C) because these are typically the largest loads and are also amenable to control by commercially available devices. We are also open to controlling other loads such as pool pumps and batteries.
What will the ‘load control events’ involve?
Agreed loads will be either turned off, turned down or even turned on at different times. For example, we may want to turn loads down during evening peaks or overnight, or we may even shift loads such as water heating to the middle of the day so they can be powered by solar. This will happen remotely at agreed times for short periods to test functionality of load control devices and stress test centralised control algorithms and communication systems. The way that your appliances will be controlled will depend on the type of appliance and how old it is.
When will the trial be run?
We expect to install devices in Cobargo residences and businesses in April-May 2022, with the trial starting in mid-2022 and running for approximately one year.
How long will the trial go for?
The trial will run for approximately one year. ITP is currently seeking expressions of interest from local residents and businesses to participate in the trial. Once we have selected the load control devices and project participants, we will provide more information on the schedule for the installation of the devices and the load control events.
How many load control events will take place?
This is still being confirmed. It is expected that up to 10 load control events will be conducted over a year. Prior to this there may be some quick tests soon after we have installed the devices to ensure the Cobargo load control system is working.
Who will control the device?
The devices will be remotely controlled by ITP or possibly someone from the Cobargo community, depending on what is being tested. You will not need to do anything to the device when a load control event occurs.
Will I be informed before a load control event is carried out?
Yes, you will be notified at least 48 hours before a test event takes place. This will give to time to opt out of that particular ‘event’ if you wish to.
What happens after each load control event?
After each event you will be asked to complete a very short survey asking you what you experienced during that event.
Will it cost me any money to participate?
No, the cost of the load control device and installation will be covered by ITP.
What are the benefits of participating in the trial?
A load control device will be installed in your house or business for free, which you can then use to monitor and control your energy use to reduce your electricity bills. The devices cost around $1,000 fully installed.
How will the trial help ITP with microgrid design?
- Microgrid sizing: the trial will help to reduce the size of the required generation in the microgrid (for example large-scale solar and batteries) by reducing the loads at critical times when isolated from the main grid.
- Customer preferences: the trial will also help to gain an understanding of the types of loads that participants are willing to have controlled and how they should be controlled.
Register to participate or for more information
If you are interested in participating in the load management trial, please complete the short questionnaire below. The information in the questionnaire will help us determine the best load control device for the trial. If you are selected, we will get back in contact to ask you more questions about your appliances, such as their age, size, location etc.
Your response will be sent to the CaDET team and shared with ITP.