Smart swimming pools trial gets funding
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has turned its attention to swimming pool energy consumption, announcing funding for a project that aims to reduce usage and unlock demand response potential.
ARENA has committed $2.5 million in funding to the Pooled Energy pilot-scale demonstration. The project will see the energy retailer expand its trial technology from a base of 400 residential pools to 5000.
The trial involves installing an intelligent pool control system that automates and optimises energy use, as well as chemical use and water quality.
ARENA says that swimming pools account for around 40% of the average pool owner’s total energy use and that Pooled Energy’s technology can reduce that consumption to just 10% of a household’s total energy use.
The trial also aims to demonstrate how a large number of swimming pools can be coordinated to collectively deliver demand response using a cloud-based system.
By curbing their consumption during peak times or when power surges, demand response can prevent outages during extreme peaks such as summer heatwaves or can provide grid stability.
ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said the pilot project will demonstrate Pooled Energy’s ability to use pools to manage demand.
“Household swimming pools take up a very large load on the electricity network and can contribute to high energy bills for families,” he said. “Pooled Energy’s technology will now be able to test turning that load into a significant contribution in providing low-cost demand response in significant volume, alongside making significant productivity improvements,” Frischknecht said.
Pooled Energy co-founder and chairman John Riedl said that the company is pleased to be working with ARENA to demonstrate the technology.
“We are delighted to work with ARENA to demonstrate how pools can be harnessed to assist the grid with no inconvenience to customers.
“There are more than 1.4 million swimming pools in Australia, and pools use approximately 10% of the average demand on the residential grid. If all the pool pumps and filters were on at once, they would use up to 3.7 GW of energy — the equivalent of two Liddell-sized power stations running at capacity — so there is huge potential to both reduce the amount of energy used and better manage pools for the wider benefit.
“This technology also reduces a household’s total energy usage by approximately 30%,” Riedl said.
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