AEMC Ignores years of work by energy networks

Energy Networks Australia has rejected the Australian Energy Market Commission’s (AEMC) claims that distribution networks have been slow to support the rapid growth of renewable energy.

Energy Networks Australia CEO Andrew Dillon said many of the issues identified in the AEMC’s ‘grid of the future’ report today were comprehensively covered in the Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap, produced almost three years ago by Energy Networks Australia and the CSIRO.

As heavily regulated businesses, expenditure to support the integration of renewable generation, solar and storage devices is governed by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) under rules set by the AEMC.

“It’s a bit rich to be told ‘distribution networks are not moving quickly enough’ by the AEMC, the body whose rulings ensured we are having a frustratingly slow rollout of smart meters across most of the National Electricity Market,” Mr Dillon said.

“Smart meters are a valuable tool for delivering local network visibility – yet the AEMC is today highlighting the lack of network visibility as a key problem.

“Energy Networks Australia has published at least 18 documents this year alone outlining the work networks are doing with energy bodies, industry, consumers groups and other partners to accommodate two-way energy flows, integrate distributed energy resources and continue the evolution of the grid to meet customer needs.

“Our network members have a range of proposals before the AER to support more effective integration of customer solar and storage devices, but ultimately the regulator will decide whether they are appropriately funded.”

Energy Networks Australia and the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) recently released a blueprint to unlock up to $1 billion in energy benefits by maximising the integration of distributed energy resources.

“Networks have been working hard to plan and deliver the future grid,” Mr Dillon said.

“We agree with the AEMC that there are many challenges as part of this transition, and we look forward to engaging further with the AEMC to determine how required reforms can be expedited.”