Rooftop solar installer in Southern Australia (CoastCity Weekly Messenger)

The newly elected Liberal Premier of South Australia, Steven Marshall, has honored his predecessor’s agreement to move forward with a Tesla plan that could create a “virtual” power plant (VPP) in South Australia.

Under the deal that was previously unveiled by then Premier—Jay Weatherill before the March state election, solar and batteries will be supplied and installed to homeowners free of charge.

This project could become the major proving ground for decentralized VPP–a new type of energy infrastructure that’s gained some popular traction lately.

The concept of a VPP is fantastic–take a whole host of small, individual, controllable, distributed energy resources such as battery systems, electric vehicle chargers, air conditioners and pool pumps, and aggregate them into a modestly sized power station.

If you need a little more power output from your virtual power plant, simply wind back Mr. and Mrs. Jones’s air conditioner a little, turn down Joe Bloggs’s pool pump, and increase the output from the Nguyen family’s battery. Voilà!

The Tesla plan, funded by a two million dollar grant and 30 million dollar loan from the Australian state’s government, could scale up to 50 thousand solar-powered home batteries if the earlier stages are successful.

In addition to the Liberal Party’s own 100 million dollar program—which would subsidize about 2,500 dollars of installation costs per household—this means that South Australia may have a grid of some 90 thousand solar-powered homes within the next few years.

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