Automatic Monitoring of the Wholesale Electricity Price

Spot Price Dispatch at a Hotel

The Robin Hood Hotel is a historic hotel established in 1851, and is located in the popular suburb of Norwood, approximately 4.5 kilometres from the Adelaide CBD.  Although its historical fa├žade has been maintained, it has now evolved into a modern and popular venue for food, drinks and functions. Adelaide is notorious for extremely hot summers which puts a lot of demand on the electricity grid, which is why the owners of the hotel upgraded their power system. 

The Robin Hood Hotel has access to wholesale electricity pricing via their electricity retailer. This means that their electricity pricing can be much cheaper than the normal retail price offered to most consumers. But it also means that they are subject to large fluctuations in price when demand increases, such as in Australian summer heatwaves.

Because the wholesale electricity price fluctuates between $15,000 a megawatt hour and negative $1000 a megawatt hour the hotel owner installed a diesel generator, along with solar panels on the hotel roof, so when the wholesale price of electricity became too high, they could disconnect from the grid and generate their own power to save money. They had to monitor the price of electricity manually, and then when the price reached their desired limit, send a staff member out to the generator to switch it on, synchronise with the grid, and disconnect from the grid. They had to do the reverse when the price went back down to acceptable levels.

The hotel was already using ComAp’s InteliSys NTC Hybrid controller to control the diesel generator and the solar inverters. So ComAp Australia suggested they use ComAp’s Spot Price Dispatch Tool, (SPD) in order to automate the entire process. 

The SPD tool monitors the wholesale electricity price, published by the Australian Electricty Market Operator, (AEMO) so the owner does not have to. When the price meets the predetermined high price threshold, the SPD Tool signals the generator to start, synchronise with the grid and disconnect from the mains. The hotel is now generating its own power. When the price drops back down, the reverse happens. This all happens automatically with no human intervention required. The hotel experiences no loss of power and the staff and customers do not know the hotel has switched to generating their own electricity.  

The hotel saves money on their electricity costs, and is assured that they have a reliable source of backup power if the grid fails during the summer heatwaves. 

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