New trial aims to cut swimming pool energy costs


Australian households with swimming pools are being given a chance to drastically lower their energy bills as part of a new trial with the Sydney energy retailer ‘Pooled Energy’.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced a $2.5 million grant for a pilot-scale demonstration of Pooled Energy’s technology that is claimed to dramatically reduce swimming pool energy consumption and manage peak network demand during times such as summer heatwaves.

The $5 million project will see 5,000 households in Sydney have an intelligent pool control system installed that automates and optimises their swimming pool’s energy use, as well as chemical use and water quality.

Swimming pools typically account for 40% of the average household’s total energy use, but this world-first technology is claimed to reduce the pool’s consumption to a mere 10%.

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, helping to prevent power outages.

ARENA CEO, Ivor Frischknecht, said the pilot will demonstrate Pooled Energy’s ability to use pools to manage peak electricity 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.”

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 3.7 GW 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.”

What can you do to lower your swimming pool costs?

With the Pooled Energy trial covering just a small percentage of Sydney homes, you might be wondering what else you can do to reduce the cost of maintaining your swimming pool.

Traditional methods, such as maintaining a proper chemical balance, cleaning the pool regularly and maintaining your pool equipment, are all essential to minimising ongoing running costs. But you can also take advantage of off-peak electricity prices by running your pool filter and pump through a controlled load tariff. A controlled load is a separately-metered, dedicated circuit for high energy use appliances, with electricity usually charged at much cheaper rates than the rest of the property.

Anyone interested in the trial should visit the Pooled Energy website.

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