Products and Services Manager, Synergy
PowerBank; a community storage project
Paul is the Products and Services Manager at Synergy, Western Australia’s largest energy retailer and is responsible for leading and developing the retail product strategy. Paul has over 20 years experience in senior marketing roles across both banking and finance and energy sectors that drives a customer centric approach to product development.
In October 2018 Western Power & Synergy connected a 420kWh community battery in the City of Mandurah, Western Australia. The strategic rationale was to integrate storage into the grid in the most cost-effective manner with the vision of reducing energy costs to Synergy and Western Power for the benefit of consumers. The battery was installed in a green open space, downstream on an LV network with high penetration of solar. The project has allowed upgrade of the distribution transformer to be deferred.
Synergy (Gentailer) created a customer facing storage product and offered storage capacity to local residents to avoid investment duplication. The customer recruitment was completed promptly and ahead of expectations. To date, the majority of the customers are saving on this new product. The community response has been overwhelmingly positive – customers are requesting this option in their community and developers are hoping to include it in their projects.
The major challenge for this project is developing a business model that can realise the benefits from all value streams and positively involve all stakeholders (network, generator, retailer, customer and community). The lessons Synergy and Western Power have learnt from this trial will shape the commercialisation of utility storage in the SWIS. PowerBank is a positive first step in developing a structure that can deliver this at scale, where all stakeholders can benefit.