The AEMC today published an issues paper for its review of the regulatory frameworks for stand-alone power systems.
A stand-alone power system is an electricity supply arrangement that is not physically connected to the national grid. The term encompasses both microgrids, which supply electricity to multiple customers, and individual power systems, which relate only to single customers.
In general, stand-alone power systems are currently not captured under the national electricity frameworks. They are instead subject to jurisdictional legislative frameworks that vary in their comprehensiveness.
Changes in technology mean that stand alone systems are becoming an increasingly viable option for providing electricity services to customers, particularly where the costs of providing of a grid-connected service might be high, for example in remote areas. The review is considering the changes to the national electricity framework that are needed to allow for stand-alone systems to be used where it is economically efficient to do so, while maintaining appropriate consumer protection and service standards.
As a first step, the issues paper considers how customers could be transitioned to off grid supply, as well as potential outcomes for customers of stand-alone power systems managed by distribution network businesses.
Submissions on the issues paper are due by 9 October 2018.
Under the terms of reference for the review provided by the COAG Energy Council, the Commission will consider two priority areas:
- Priority 1 will mainly focus on the development of a national framework for customers that move from grid-connected supply to stand alone power systems provided by existing distribution network service providers
- Priority 2 will consider a national framework for the provision of standalone power systems by parties other than distribution network service providers.
The Commission plans to publish a draft report for priority 1 of the review in December 2018.
We are concurrently working on updates to the regulatory framework for embedded networks, and the two workstreams will consider a number of related issues, particularly with regards to consumer protections.
Media: Prudence Anderson, Communication Director, (02) 8296 7817; 0404 821 935