Significant growth in customer-owned energy technologies such as rooftop solar, batteries, smart home systems and electric vehicles, means distributed energy resources will play an increasingly important role in the power system as it transitions to deliver reliable, least cost, lower emissions electricity to Australian households and businesses.
With the transition to a more decentralised power system well underway, the AEMC and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency co-hosted a “DEIP Dive” on 6 June 2019 as part of the Distributed Energy Integration Program (DEIP). The workshop brought together leading thinkers from across Australia to share their research, experience and ideas and start a more focused conversation about what the future grid will look like and how it will operate.
Representatives from across industry, academia, the technology sector, consumer groups, energy agencies and governments used the DEIP Dive to explore the role of distribution networks in a power system with increasing distributed energy resources.
Experts brought their unique knowledge of distributed energy to the table and worked collaboratively to consider:
- what a future with high levels of distributed energy resources will mean for the operation of distribution networks
- how regulatory frameworks need to adapt to deliver an optimal amount of investment in network infrastructure and non-network practices
- how distribution network capacity could be allocated and how should it be paid for
- what knowledge gaps need to be filled to support decision makers in maximising the opportunities of distributed energy resources and minimising the costs to consumers.
Materials from the workshop can be accessed here.
For the AEMC, questions around how regulatory frameworks can support the integration of distributed energy resources to deliver consumer benefits are key. The ideas and insights from the DEIP Dive will help the AEMC address these questions through our annual Economic regulatory framework review. The review is considering how the economic regulatory framework should evolve as distribution network businesses transition to become a platform for multiple services and facilitating two-way electricity flows. The 2019 report for the review will be published in September 2019.
Workshop participants also used the opportunity to suggest projects that could be funded by ARENA to address knowledge gaps that are crucial to the integration of distributed energy resources into the electricity grid.
Media: Bronwyn Rosser, Communications Specialist, (02) 8296 7847; 0423 280 341; firstname.lastname@example.org
BACKGROUND: WHAT IS THE DISTRIBUTED ENERGY INTEGRATION PROGRAM?
More than two million homes are now energy producers as well as consumers. In the March quarter, nearly 500 MW of new small-scale solar PV was installed – equivalent to a small gas-fired power station. Batteries and electric vehicles are also being embraced in greater numbers as costs start to fall. It is clear that a significant industry-wide transformation is required to deliver an electricity system that meets customer expectations and is efficient and sustainable.
The Distributed Energy Integration Program (DEIP), an initiative of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, brings together energy peak bodies, market authorities, industry associations and consumer associations to maximise the value of customers' distributed energy resources for all energy users. By collaborating through DEIP, diverse views are can be brought together to deliver a holistic approach to integrating customer-owned energy resources.