Plan to support Australia’s future grid

Energy networks are planning for a future power grid that can securely support two-way electricity flows and allow customers to get maximum value from their rooftop solar and batteries.

A position paper, released today by Energy Networks Australia, looks at how Australia’s energy system can best be managed to support the growing amount of distributed energy resources (DER) such as solar PV, batteries and electric vehicles.

Energy Networks Australia CEO Andrew Dillon said the paper summarised the network sector’s position on the Open Energy Networks Project.

“With the rapid uptake of solar PV and battery storage, some local electricity grids are becoming increasingly congested,” Mr Dillon said.

“This leads to voltage and frequency issues, which can cause damage to appliances and potentially risk the security of the electricity system. The only way to manage this currently without expensive network upgrades is to restrict customers exporting into the grid.

“The OpEN project has considered how best this problem can be managed so customers can get maximum value from their DER investments while keeping the grid secure and keeping costs to customers as low as possible.”

As well as considering system changes to enable DER to operate most effectively, the OpEN project considers how today’s distribution networks will transition to tomorrow’s distribution system operators.

“Long-term, we are likely to see distribution markets where households can sell their generation,” Mr Dillon said.

“What we need to consider now is what changes can deliver maximum customer and system benefits at the most efficient cost.

“It’s clear we need to trial a variety of structures, and that’s why networks around the country are working with a variety of partners to test the best technologies and approaches to deliver the smart grid of the future.”