First test comes early
Detailed analysis and modelling had predicted that the City of Newcastle would achieve significant financial savings by moving to this new contracting structure over the long term.
The new energy strategy would also take advantage of cost-reflective electricity pricing through smart energy management.
Only four days into the new contract, the chaotic pricing unfolding that Saturday was going to be an extraordinary test of this strategic direction.
Receiving an alert from the retailer about the peak pricing event, City of Newcastle actioned what demand reduction it could, with the CEO messaging site operators to minimise electricity use as much as possible.
This included adjusting or turning off air-conditioning units, switching off air compressors, turning off any building or workshop lights and evaluating what IT equipment could be shutdown.
At the same time available battery storage systems connected to rooftop PV were set to discharge.
While we didn’t curtail our public EV charging, onsite Solar PV and battery storage at these stations managed to cover these charging sessions, though it’s an area for future demand reduction consideration depending on the circumstances.
While the timing favoured CN, with reduced demand due to it being a weekend, solar generation in play and evening street lights not yet on, it also demonstrated the resilience built in by the City.
City of Newcastle was able to ride through this event as a net-exporter to the grid and importantly utilising localised, urban assets to provide decentralised and local generation capability to the city.
At the same time, the City demonstrated the benefits of its renewable hedge during these extremely volatile periods, by utilising a mix of both wind and solar generation (and some limited battery storage).
This extraordinary event was an early encouragement of the forward-thinking decision to move to 100% renewable electricity supply.
The proof will shown be over an extended period of time rather than these individual events, but this extraordinary event was encouragement for the leaderships and forward- thinking decision to move to 100% renewable electricity supply. No doubt we’ll have our good days and bad days, but so far so good.