The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced $2.5 million in funding to Pooled Energy for a pilot-scale demonstration of its technology that 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 its technology from 400 to 5000 residential swimming pools in NSW.

Sydney households who join the five megawatt 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.

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 will 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,” Mr Frischknecht 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.”

Pooled Energy co-founder and chairman, John Riedl, said, “We are delighted to work with ARENA 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. 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.”

Mr Riedl said the technology will also reduce a household’s total energy usage by approximately 30 per cent. 

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