In a bid to grow cost-effective demand response capacity in Australia, ARENA, and the New South Wales government have announced Flow Power as a successful participant in ARENA’s Advancing Renewable’s Program – Demand Response. The program will help manage peak demand on the NSW grid, bringing costs down for users and minimising the need for infrastructure development.

With the funding from ARENA, Flow Power will launch the Energy Under Control project, which includes the roll out of proprietary technology and hardware, the kWatch® Intelligent Controller, to commercial and industrial businesses.

Flow Power’s Controller is a simple cost-effective device that will allow businesses to be involved in demand response programs and, for the first time, help businesses leverage their energy usage as a source of revenue. Participants in the three-year program will receive activation payments based on the amount of curtailment they can offer during peaks times as well as further payments when called upon by AEMO. In practical terms, this could mean tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional revenue for businesses.

Businesses with the kWatch® Intelligent Controller installed will also save money by knowing when to take advantage of abundant cheap power. Flow Power’s controller provides real-time alerts to customers advising them when to power down or switch to a generator, for example during periods of extreme heat when demand is high. This allows businesses to manage power usage more efficiently onsite and remotely. For the market as a whole, this provides a solution to rising peak demands because energy is being used more efficiently, removing pressure from the grid during peak usage times.

The Controller has been designed and manufactured by Flow Power in Lilydale, Victoria and comprises three core functions: live data feeds transmit information on energy usage, temperature, wind speed, and water pressure to the Flow Power web-portal and app; real-time email and SMS alerts remove the need to constantly monitor energy use; and integration with onsite equipment and generators allows the controller to respond to market events within minutes, powering down or switching energy sources as necessary.

With advanced capabilities, the Controller is able to make complex decisions and interact with control systems to help save businesses money. In a volatile energy market, the device is a reliable communication tool to the cloud but is also able to make decisions when disconnected and cope with networks that might be unreliable or have connectivity issues.

“The Controller was designed in-house to meet a specific need for a device that gave customers the ability to control load in response to price fluctuations while still being scalable. This was a complex problem for which there was no off-the-shelf solution, leading us to design and manufacture our own solution locally,” says Flow Power Director of Projects David Evans.

By mid-2018, Flow Power expects to have more than 100 kWatch® Intelligent Controllers installed in businesses across New South Wales. By introducing an effective demand response solution to the Australian market, which is significantly behind New Zealand where more than 50% of energy users can respond to signals, Flow Power is empowering businesses to take control of their energy consumption, and provide crucial support to Australia’s volatile power grid during peak periods.

“Our vision is to create a transparent energy market and provide effortless connectivity for businesses,” says Evans.

Device Specifications:

  • Latest Intel Cherry Trial CPU
  • Windows 10 IoT IOS supported on 4GB RAM
  • Built-in 4GX connectivity to allow for high-speed access wherever it is connected
  • Uninterruptible power supply to ensure that the system is always available
  • Interface to the kWatch® Intelligent Controller is provided through 4GX wireless and 2.4 GHz wifi network, RJ45 Ethernet, USB, HDMI and RS485 interfaces as well as wireless ZigBee technology. This means that it is low-cost and can control multiple IO devices
  • The IO is modular and easily configurable. Each module can be daisy-chained using RS485 and is extended across large networks with ZigBee wireless mesh technology
  • Windows 10 IoT supports a full operating system and with the use of the 4GX wireless network can support approved third-party applications.

For more information on our kWatch® Intelligent Controller, please follow this link