Lincoln Flexibility Project

Energy flexibility project a first for Canterbury!

Orion Media Release 19/10/23

Orion is pleased to announce it’s partnering with electricity retailer Ecotricity to deliver a flexibility solution for the Lincoln area.

Lincoln is seeing large scale residential growth, which is raising the demand for electricity in the area. Traditionally that growth in demand would require more electricity network to be built, however by utilising batteries already in the community, Orion is looking to reduce network demand at key times, for instance winter morning or evening peaks.

Flexibility support from batteries will be used to reduce peak electricity demand in the area in 2024 and 2025 and could also potentially be used to lessen the impact of an outage in the area.

"As well as investing in traditional network solutions, including a potential new zone substation for the township, in order to meet growing electricity demand we’re keen to explore all other options, and flexibility is top of the list,” says Orion Group CEO Nigel Barbour.

Orion went through a competitive procurement process to seek an alternative solution to traditional network build that could reduce peak demand in the area and chose to partner with Ecotricity as the flexibility service provider. Ecotricity’s proposal involves a primarily residential-based battery solution.

“Part of our strategic focus is facilitating decarbonisation and hosting capacity at the lowest cost to our customers. Flexibility can be a cost-effective way to defer or avoid new investment in traditional network assets, which ultimately costs customers, and can also potentially support the decarbonisation of our region. We’re keen to explore that potential and maximise the opportunity to lower costs to our customers,” says Nigel.

Ecotricity are an electricity retailer with about 3,000 customers on the Orion network. The solution could be used to lower loads at peak times, particularly during the colder months from May to October.

Ecotricity are New Zealand’s first and only Toitū Climate Positive certified electricity provider and were recently awarded Energy Retailer of the Year at the 2023 Energy Excellence Awards.

“We are committed to making New Zealand’s electricity system 100% renewable by promoting the rapid development of new solar farms, wind farms and rooftop solar to replace our reliance on fossil fuels”, says Ecotricity CEO Al Yates.

“Supporting Orion on this flexibility project is another way we can take pressure off networks and the national grid, which will reduce CO2 emissions and reduce the cost of electricity for consumers”, he says.

“We think flexibility will play a crucial role in our future energy system, as our network evolves from being purely linear, to having a two-way flow. This could give our community more agency in how and when they use their electricity, in turn generating savings on their power bill,” says Nigel.

The project will get underway on 1 May 2024 and is proposed to run through to late 2025.

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