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Partnership trials battery-based energy trading

2 August 2017

Counties Power and Genesis Energy have today signed an innovative partnership to trial energy trading using radical new battery technology. 

Counties Power’s grid-scale battery has a capacity of 250kW and stored energy capacity of 500kWh, is the size of a 20-foot shipping container, and has the capacity to fully power around 100 houses for two hours.

The collaboration between the parties will study how this battery technology and associated energy trading arrangements could potentially save consumers money, by taking the power at off-peak transmission rates from Transpower, storing it, and then releasing it at peak times when consumers would usually be paying a higher price.

Counties Power Acting Chief Executive – Corporate, Andrew Toop, says the joint initiative between an energy retailer and distributor is New Zealand’s first battery trial using energy arbitrage - storing and releasing energy to take advantage of price differentials.

“We’re very pleased to have teamed up with Genesis Energy for this exciting collaboration and learning opportunity,” said Mr Toop.

“We are bringing together several interested parties to work on different aspects of the grid storage business case.  On the network side, we’ll also be working with vendors, the grid operator and other parties to mine opportunities for better management of demand peaks and more sustainable delivery of high quality, reliable power - an increasingly critical requirement for New Zealand’s manufacturing and industrial base to remain internationally competitive. 

“It is important for electricity distribution businesses and retailers to start investing in and utilising this technology where it is cost-effective to do so.

“It’s great to be working with Genesis - New Zealand’s biggest energy retailer - to determine under what conditions and environments electricity arbitrage will be valuable,” said Mr Toop.

Genesis Energy Wholesale Manager Shaun Goldsbury said the trial was an opportunity for Genesis to work with a progressive lines company and learn more about how grid-scale batteries can work in a New Zealand context.

“Ultimately we see these batteries as having the potential to provide electricity for our customers in a cheaper, more efficient and cleaner way by reducing the generation, distribution and transmission costs associated with electricity, especially at peak times. 

“We see energy management as the future of the market and this project will help us to manage energy for our customers at a grid-scale level,” said Mr Goldsbury.

The trial will last for a year initially with agreement to extend for a further 12 months. 

 ENDS

How does it work?
A grid-scale battery is a large battery for use within an electrical power grid. 

Energy is generated by various means and transmitted throughout the country via Transpower’s pylons to grid exit points, from where it then joins the energy distributor’s network - in this case Counties Power’s grid exit point at Bombay.  It then transmits to substations on the Counties Power network, including the Tuakau substation.

At this substation it charges the grid-scale battery at off peak times and energy is stored in it.  The power will then be released back onto the network for consumers at times of high demand (see attached diagram).

The grid-scale battery is manufactured by S&C Electric Company and supplied by Electropar – Preformed Line Products.

Counties Power is an electricity distribution company based in the Franklin/Counties area in southern Auckland/north Waikato.  Its network stretches from coast to coast between southern Papakura and Mercer and west of the Waikato River from Mercer to Waikaretu.  It includes the towns of Pukekohe, Waiuku and Tuakau and has around 40,000 customers.  It is the second-fastest growing electricity network in the country.

Genesis Energy (NZX: GNE) is a diversified New Zealand energy company. It sells electricity, reticulated natural gas and LPG through its retail brands of Genesis Energy and Energy Online. It is New Zealand’s largest energy retailer with around 637,000 customer accounts. The Company generates electricity from a diverse portfolio of thermal and renewable generation assets located in different parts of the country. More information can be found at www.genesisenergy.co.nz  


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