The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) has started a ‘Distribution Market Model’ project to explore how the operation and regulation of electricity distribution networks may need to change in the future to accommodate an increased uptake of distributed energy resources such as rooftop solar systems, battery storage and electric vehicles.

An approach paper for the project, released today for consultation, sets out the opportunities and challenges of distributed energy resources, as distribution networks move away from facilitating one-way flows to more dynamic, two-way flows of electricity.

The project is not intended to be a prediction of or pathway for future regulatory reform, but rather an exploration of possible distribution market design options that may be available to harness the opportunities presented by distributed energy resources, while addressing any technical impacts as they arise.

The Distribution Market Model project forms part of the AEMC’s technology work program, which explores the flexibility and resilience of energy market arrangements in responding to technological change. The AEMC needs to have a strong understanding of new market dynamics to inform our rule making work and market development advice to governments.

We welcome submissions on the approach paper by 19 January 2017, and individual meetings with interested stakeholders. The AEMC will also hold a series of public workshops on this project in early 2017.

Input from stakeholders will be used to inform the final report, which will be published in mid-2017.