SwitchDin supports energy system evolution in ARENA-backed project


SwitchDin is pleased to support the forward-thinking evolve project, which aims to smooth the path towards a cleaner, more secure energy future by ensuring safe deployment of distributed energy resources (DERs) in Australia’s electricity system.

As part of a consortium of nine partners led by software development company Zepben and the Australian National University (ANU), SwitchDin will take the roll of an aggregator and provide its virtual power plant (VPP) solution to enable visibility and direct control of solar, batteries and controlled loads such as air conditioners and EVs.

The project is backed by $7 million in funding by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and New South Wales government.

The outcomes of the evolve project will help to bridge an increasingly important gap in Australia’s energy infrastructure. As the number of DERs - mainly solar and battery systems - on the grid continues to expand, so will the challenges in managing them.

One of the most significant of these challenges will be coordinating VPP operation across energy networks and energy markets. The evolve project will take on the ambitious task of building a platform that allows VPPs to work seamlessly with the network operators.

“It’s an important project which is piloting an exciting new tool to enable new energy services including VPPs to coordinate with distribution networks to ensure they operate within the network constraints and thereby maximise benefit, which ultimately is passed on to the consumer through reduced network costs & improved services,” said SwitchDin CEO Dr Andrew Mears.


Current state of data flows and market participation in Australia. (Source: ANU/Zepben.)


Proposed distribution system operator model that evolve is testing. (Source: ANU/Zepben.)


“What’s impressive about evolve is its focus on making visible the constraints that govern the physical limitations of the network and how to securely coordinate them with the operation of the VPP,” said Mears.

ANU Provost Professor Mike Calford said investment by both government and industry is essential to the success of research projects that are aiming to solve some of the nation’s greatest challenges.

“Our researchers have the expertise to analyse problems and develop solutions in the lab, but for workable and adaptable solutions, we need to be working with industry and governments,” Professor Calford said. “This project is an excellent example of three key sectors coming together to deliver the long-term solutions for designing the infrastructure needed to address this significant challenge.”

The project is slated for completion in early 2022.

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