Diesel back-up on power cut days


DIESEL generators have been brought onto the Mornington Peninsula to avoid power outages over summer.

Outages can be expected up to five times each summer, usually when thousands of holiday-makers turn on their air-conditioners at around the same time.

Network provider United Energy says the extra demand can lead to “more than double a normal day’s power use”.

The 11 generators on private properties at Dromana, Boneo and Rye will back-up peninsula’s grid during peak demand.

The generators will be on site for five years but are expected to be replaced with other “demand-management” options, such as batteries and solar panels.

The generators are part of the Community Grid partnership between electricity network provider United Energy, Mornington Peninsula Shire and technology company GreenSync, whose cloud-based software platform manages the power-sharing load.

The software will anticipate peak-load demand and bring the generators online at the same time as telling 10 peninsula businesses to cut their power use.

United Energy says this strategy will supply sufficient power to the grid on days of high use.

The businesses will be rewarded with “financial incentives” for their part in the power savings.

“This is not about the security of supply of electricity,” United Energy’s general manager networks Mark Clarke said. “It is about the capacity of our network to distribute electricity on a few peak days of the year when demand is highest.

He said “demand management” was well-established internationally.

Mr Clarke said the temporary use of generators had allowed United Energy to defer a $30 million upgrade of the network – and “this works out to be cheaper for customers”.

“In the US, demand management helps deliver … seven per cent of peak demand,” he said.

“Recent reports by regulators, including the ACCC, AEMO and AEMC, have all supported the opportunity for demand management to put downward pressure on energy prices.”

The Liberal National’s energy and resources spokesman David Southwick described the plan as a “desperate stop-gap measure”.

“Twelve months since Daniel Andrews shut down Hazelwood and sucked 22 per cent of baseload power from the grid [he] has no plan to provide enough power to prevent blackouts, other than ridiculous media stunts and pie-in-the-sky ideas.

“Our focus is on providing reliable, affordable and safe electricity   supplies. Demand management is one way we can achieve this.”

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 2 October 2018


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