The South Australian Government is investing $2 million with the Australian arm of global energy solutions provider Enel X to unlock the potential for cheaper and more reliable electricity by utilising backup generators owned by 40 South Australian businesses. The $4 million Backup Boost Program is the latest plank of the Marshall Government’s electricity policies designed to deliver more affordable and reliable electricity in the state.

“Enabling local businesses to fire up their backup generators and supply the electricity market will add a revenue stream for the businesses and deliver lower prices for everyone else,” said South Australian minister for energy and mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan.

“The plan to utilise backup generation [assets] that are virtually idle mirrors the Marshall Government’s decision to allow the state government’s 276MW of backup generation to operate in the electricity market.”

The program will bring about 20MW of demand side generation capacity into the National Electricity Market (NEM) over the three-year trial.

The program will support about 40 small- to medium-sized commercial and industrial businesses across agribusiness, food processing, health, manufacturing, data storage and more, to allow them to participate in demand response programs.

Flexible response

Enel X head of Asia and Oceania Jeff Renaud said the company identified significant latent demand response capability in South Australia, which can be captured relatively quickly to address system security, reliability and affordability concerns.

“Participating businesses will use their backup generator as a flexible asset in the energy market,” Renaud said. “This allows them to actively manage energy consumption and costs, earn revenue and maximise their investment in backup generation.

“The program will also contribute to electricity system reliability and provide network benefits by reducing excessive electricity demand during peak periods. This is done by switching from grid power to onsite backup generation. This brings wholesale market affordability benefits for all South Australian energy users.”

Enel X is looking for more businesses to join the Backup Boost program, with no upfront costs to business looking to participate.