Taking a load off
Pooled Energy has been awarded the Best Residential Energy Efficiency Project in this year’s National Energy Efficiency Awards, presented by the Energy Efficiency Council (EEC). The award follows a $2.5 million grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) for a pilot-scale demonstration of its technology.
The company’s intelligent automated pool management solution offers a reduction in household energy consumption, pool chemicals and maintenance, but also allows Pooled Energy to effectively become the energy retailer for a whole home, managing and optimising energy use for the benefit of the consumer and the grid.
When the pumps and filters of 1.4 million residential pools across Australia are in operation over summer, they are using up to 3.7 GW of power — the equivalent of two Liddell-sized power stations running at capacity. By ‘pooling’ existing pools under its management, the company can harness a significant low-cost demand response, taking the strain off the grid and passing savings onto the pool owner.
Pooled Energy says the average pool owner saves 30% on household electricity and up to 80% on pool chemicals, eliminating the need for a service tech and reducing overall maintenance costs. The technology works at the pool and via the internet, continually optimising based on factors including time of day, time of year, weather conditions, bather load, water chemistry, power prices, solar panel sun exposure and the state of the electricity grid.
A new program from ARENA — the Distributed Energy Integration Program (DEIP) — aims to find the best way to harness the collective potential from residential solar power installations. The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) is keen to capitalise on solar generation, with Chief Executive Audrey Zibelman saying it’s cheaper to pay customers to contribute to the grid than it is to build new power stations, according to reports.
As a key consumer of household electricity, swimming pools are often in the firing line and Zibelman has suggested switching off pool pumps for brief periods as a suitable strategy. Pooled Energy says that using its system can reduce a swimming pool’s consumption from 40% down to 10% of total household energy use.
The company is on a mission to secure 5000 swimming pools across Sydney and combine them to help manage demand surges that lead to price spikes, instability and unplanned power outages in the national grid.
“We believe in the ongoing development of new technologies as the path to a better, more energy-efficient and ethical future. Great engineering and integration are the keys to a better future for all,” said Pooled Energy’s co-founder and chairman, John Riedl.
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