GSP-WW: Virtual Power Plant (VPP) operation of a Wastewater Treatment Plant


Western Water provides water, sewerage and recycled water services to 61,000 properties with a population of 162,000 across a region of 3,000 square kilometres to the north-west of Melbourne. Since the authority’s establishment 20 years ago, Western Water has seen its service population more than double. This strong growth rate is projected to continue as suburbs around Melton and Sunbury develop over the coming decade. Nearly all towns in the service area now have a secure water supply through provision of alternate supplies to local water. These include interconnection to adjoining supply systems as well as access to Melbourne water.


This project aims to investigate:

  1. Energy and Greenhouse Gas-visualisation of data at the Surbiton Park (Melton’s WWTP)?
  • 15-minute interval data available on the SCADA system
  • Possibility of replacing older pumps that are poor performers
  1. Virtual dispatch of excess energy at WWTP and on other sites?
  2. Virtual Power Plant- one day time sequence for biogas storage, power generation, solar PV, grid power and energy balances – use 15-minute interval data and model VPP and optimisations?
  • Run plots on PLC’s and rule-based logic?
  • Establish what software is available to run rule- based logic?
  1. How best to utilise the energy generated from VPP?
  • Could other WW sites be powered?
  • How to best dispatch energy from VPP?
  • Market assessment of software systems for optimal operation of VPP’s using rule-based logic?
  • How to best minimise use of energy from the grid and maximise energy behind the meter generated by VPP?
  • Evaluate plant load based upon solar capacity, Gas storage, scenarios for PV arrays, e.g. BOM cloud bank predictions of weather.
  • How best to manage biogas and integration of energy generation with grid power?
  • Is there more energy generation than WWTP can use and how to transfer power?
  1. Develop a business case for an additional 1000 cubic metres of biogas storage (Bio-dome)?
  • Currently can run gas turbines for up to 6 hours of energy generation, at sun set biogas becomes the energy source.
  1. Develop benchmarks for VPP: bio-gas generation, Co-generation, PV usage, diesel generation usage and grid power and strike price for different energies inclusive of load shedding power system economics?


The deliverables of this project will be staged with an initial focus on data collection.


Deliverable Description Initial Timing Estimate
Project plan Project Plan March
Milestone 1 Developing a small-scale electrical grid model considering operational and financial issues appropriate to represent Melton site.

·       Behind the meter electricity network model

·       Modelling interaction with the external NEM grid

·       Power system economics model for Melton site to represent power flow and money flow in/out of the Melton site from/to grid depending on the site-operation

End May
Milestone 2 Sequential 15-minutes interval time domain simulation of the Melton site throughout the whole year, including:

·       Coordination of the site consumption, onsite generation, and external grid to identify optimal operation of the site

·       Analysis of electricity load/generation/storage profile throughout the entire annual cycle

·       Analysis of electricity price profile throughout the entire annual cycle

End June
Milestone 3 Feasibility study of the VPP operation based on the site performance and external grid (coordination of 1 and 2 above)

·       Financial analysis of electricity cost /electricity consumption /on-site generation /storage /cost savings

·       Field assessment (for recommendation on the network efficiency) to identify savings and/or strategic investments

·       Review of site billing (for recommendation on the economic efficiency)

End July
Draft project report Draft project report as outlined in Aim. Early September
Project report Project report. End September
Presentation A presentation on the project report with accompanying presentation materials (eg. slides). End October


This project will be managed through weekly meetings of the students, whom will seek draft approval from the Project Managers (Marcos Anastassiou & Dr Cameron Stanley & Dr Kazi Hasan) and through frequent contact with the Project Sponsor to ensure work is satisfactory.

Reporting Requirements:

There will be draft approval and/or progress reporting fortnightly to the project managers.

 Risks and Minimisation Strategies:

Incomplete data collection resulting in inaccurate recommendations.

  • This will be minimised by collecting as much data as possible from as many sources as possible.

Low data resolution.

  • The highest resolution data available will be sourced to ensure accuracy.


Water Act 1989

Water Industry Act 1994

Survey of obligations and responsibilities under the Reliability and Emergency Reserve Trader (RERT) function of the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).




2 years interval data is requested.
Electricity System Data (for developing power system models)
·       Onsite generation and storage (solar PV, diesel, biogas etc.) data

·       Electricity consumption by different equipment

·       Simplified network (electrical connection) topology data, showing connections in the WTP/WWTP devices including all line parameters, load and generator information

·       P, Q, V, f (Real power, reactive power, voltage and frequency) measurements at grid-connection substations at high resolution

·       P, Q for major loads, generators, and storage battery for load flow calculation

Water System Data (constraints in power system models)
·       15-minutes interval data available from the SCADA system

·       WTP/WWTP storage level data

·       Total volume of the WTP/WWTP storage

·       Pump capacity, pumping rates

·       Minimum and maximum WTP/WWTP storage level to maintain

Electricity Market Data
·       Electricity price data (high resolution) of the network (WTP/WWTP)

·       Existing contracts (if any)

Event Data
·       Outage information (if any)



Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Skip to toolbar