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Genesis launches virtual power plant platform

Genesis has teamed up with Christchurch-based technology start up Karit, in a move to deliver a virtual power plant platform for its customers. 

Douglas Park School, Ata Rangi Winery and residents from Genesis’ Local Energy Project in South Wairarapa will be generating, storing, sharing and selling energy, through a virtual power plant.

The initiative is part of Genesis’s goal to reimagine energy for its customers, according to Genesis executive general manager for retail markets, James Magill.

“A virtual power plant aggregates and coordinates the energy produced or stored in homes and businesses," Magill says. 

"At times of high wholesale prices or grid constraints, it can provide an alternative source of power and reward customers in the process," he explains.

“We are really excited to be working with Karit who share our ambition to create better outcomes for customers through technology and innovation,” says Magill. 

Magill says the virtual power plant is a tangible example of how Genesis is achieving this, building on the traditional configuration of solar and batteries to control how, when and where the energy is consumed.

“Today, most residential or commercial properties with solar panels use the energy they produce during the day," he says. 

"Energy that isn’t immediately consumed is exported back to the national grid, unless the customer has a battery, which can store the excess energy to use later," Magill explains.

“With the introduction of a virtual power plant we unlock the ability to easily access, coordinate and export the energy generated by the participating homes and businesses to the grid, alongside other forms of generation," he continues. 

"This can ultimately reduce the total cost of energy for customers,” Magill says.

Bruce Emson from Christchurch-based Karit says its technology can help transition New Zealand to 100% renewable electricity generation by 2035 and carbon neutrality by 2050.

“We’re delighted that Genesis is willing to trial our technology," says Emson. 

"Not only can it reduce New Zealand’s reliance on traditional forms of energy, but it has the potential to transform the electricity sector by allowing consumers to directly participate in the market,” he says.

Magill says this form of storing and distributing energy is the latest innovation to be developed and tested by Genesis through its local energy project.

“This is one way we’re delivering on our commitment to supporting New Zealand’s transition to a low-carbon future," he says. 

"We’re working with our customers and local technology companies to innovate and find new solutions that will provide customers and businesses with more options, flexibility and control of their energy use,” Magill explains.

"The local energy project was established by Genesis in 2017 as a way to develop new products with customers, for customers. It is New Zealand’s largest energy-focused research and development community with more than 100 participating families and businesses," he adds.