Required Capabilities and Recommended Actions

Source: Open Energy Networks

1 August 2019

Open Energy Networks, the joint initiative from AEMO and Energy Networks Australia, recently released their interim report Required Capabilities and Recommended Actions.  

The primary objective of the initiative is to ensure the system and market are fit to respond to customer needs into the future. CSIRO estimates that a transformed energy system could deliver more than $1 billion in benefits by 2030. This can be achieved through more efficient distribution and avoidance of capital expenditure on new generation and poles and wires infrastructure. This means lower costs for customers.

The interim report looks at the challenges and strategies required to take advantage of Australia’s rapid uptake of rooftop solar and home storage devices, collectively known as distributed energy resources (DER). The report identifies 3 key required capabilities for distribution network providers (DNSPs) to integrate DER into the electricity system in an optimal and successful way.

The 3 Capabilities:

  1. DNSPs defining network visibility requirements and network export constraints – know where DER are installed, how much capacity they have, and how fast they can respond to signals from the market.
  2. Defining communication requirements for network constraints or ‘operating envelopes’ – customers can be advised on the limits that their DER must operate in.
  3. Establishing and industry guideline for operating envelopes for export limits – be able to communicate with aggregators, retailers, owners of DER, and AEMO.

The key benefits from delivering these capabilities include:

  • Accommodating all generation and storage options
  • Providing power quality and reliability
  • Optimised asset utilisation and provision of operational efficiency
  • Anticipating and respond to system disturbances
  • Enabling new products, services, and markets for customers

The report also identifies key focus areas of the DER integration that would need to be considered regardless of the pathway taken to get there, and provides recommended actions for each focus area.

Key focus areas and their recommended actions: 

  • Customers are the key to a distribution services market
    • Simple messaging of customer benefit – for those with DER and those without
  • The role of the aggregator in the distribution services market
    • Define the role of the aggregator and the services it will provide
    • Define aggregator, customer, and product or service relationship
  • Industry collaboration to improve network and demand forecasting
    • Aggregators, retailers, and market customers to provide improved load and generation forecasts
    • Create joint transmission and distribution investment plan
  • Integrating DER into the wholesale market
    • Trial DER participation in wholesale and FCAS markets
    • Trial real time dispatch of DER
  • A market for network services
    • Provide visibility of bilateral network services arrangements
    • Trial a network services market
    • Trial an AEMO dispatched market for transmission network services
  • Pricing signals for DER customers
    • Investigate appropriate price signals for customer DER

“There is much to be done to ensure that the investment being made in DER in the distribution network today and in coming years can be utilised for the benefit of all.”

Read more HERE