Demand response tech to be trialled on swimming pools

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced $2.5 million in funding to for a pilot-scale demonstration of technology that dramatically reduces energy consumption of household swimming pools and unlocks the potential for demand response.

The $5 million project will see Sydney energy retailer Pooled Energy expand the trial of their technology from 400 to 5000 residential swimming pools in NSW.

Sydney households who join the 5MW trial will have an intelligent pool control system installed that automates and optimises the energy use as well as chemical use and water quality of their swimming pool.

Pooled Energy co-founder and chairman John Riedl said he was delighted 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 per cent of the average demand on the residential grid,” Mr Riedl said.

“If all the pool pump and filters were on at once, they would use up to 3.7GW 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 per cent.”

Swimming pools typically use 40 per cent of the average Australian pool owners’ total energy use.

Pooled Energy’s world-first technology reduces a pool’s energy consumption to 10 per cent of the household’s total energy use.

The trial will also demonstrate how a large fleet 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 would 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.”