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AEMC: Better integrating consumer-driven energy

distributed energy resources

The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) is calling for submissions on proposed changes to better integrate distributed energy resources (DER) such as rooftop solar, batteries, electric vehicles and other smart appliances.

A consultation paper released covers three rule requests that aim to remove barriers to the integration of consumer-owned energy resources.

Distributed energy resources – or DERs – are devices connected to the electricity distribution network that can generate or store electricity; or have the ‘smarts’ to actively manage energy demand. These devices will play an increasingly important role in meeting Australia’s energy needs into the future.

The changes have been requested by SA Power Networks, the St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria, and a joint request from the Total Environment Centre together with the Australian Council of Social Service.

They are the result of detailed work undertaken over the past nine months by a broad collaboration of stakeholders which is addressing consumer-driven power system change through the Distributed Energy Integration Program (DEIP).

The changes in this package of rule requests is focused on giving distribution networks clearer obligations on their role to facilitate two-way flows of electricity and provide more flexibility in the way DER can be connected to the grid so consumers can have the access they want to smarter, cleaner energy.

The AEMC’s formal consultation process is now open to all stakeholders to provide feedback on the proposed changes:

  • Updating the regulatory framework to reflect the community expectation for distribution networks to efficiently provide export services to support DER.
  • Promoting incentives for efficient investment in, and operation and use of, export services.
  • Enabling export charges as a pricing tool to:
    • send efficient signals for future expenditure associated with export services
    • reward customers for actions that better utilise the network or improve network operations, and
    • allocate costs in a fair and efficient way.

AEMC recognises some of these proposals are contentious and they are establishing a Technical Working Group to inform their consideration of the requests.

A virtual public forum will be held on 13rd August 2020 prior to submissions on the consultation paper closing on 10th September 2020.

These consultation paper Distributed energy resources integration – updating regulatory arrangements covers issues raised in the three rule change requests.

The three rule change projects are:

  • Network planning and access for DER (Total Environment Centre & Australian Council of Social Services): ERC0309
  • Allowing distribution network service providers to charge for exports to the network (St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria): ERC0310
  • Access, pricing and incentive arrangements for DER (SA Power Networks): ERC0311 & RRC0039

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