Australia’s Ener­gy Secu­ri­ty Board has called for the estab­lish­ment of a new body to gov­ern the nation’s huge and boom­ing dis­trib­uted ener­gy resources mar­ket, which already boasts more than 12 gigawatts of rooftop solar across the country.

A con­sul­ta­tion paper released last week calls for feed­back from indus­try stake­hold­ers on the pro­posed cre­ation of a DER Stan­dards Gov­er­nance Com­mit­tee under the Nation­al Elec­tric­i­ty Rules (NER), con­vened under the Aus­tralian Ener­gy Mar­ket Com­mis­sion (AEMC).

As the paper notes, dis­trib­uted ener­gy resources, or DER, extends beyond Australia’s cur­rent 2.2 mil­lion rooftop solar sys­tems to include mil­lions of air con­di­tion­ers, hot water sys­tems, pool pumps, and over 24,000 dis­trib­uted bat­ter­ies, as well as a slow­ly grow­ing fleet of elec­tric vehicles.

But by far the biggest con­cern right now is the rooftop solar part of that equa­tion which the Aus­tralian Ener­gy Mar­ket Oper­a­tor recent­ly not­ed is on track to be 25 times big­ger than the grid’s biggest remain­ing coal gen­er­a­tors by 2025 – a huge resource that is cur­rent­ly gov­erned by no one, and guid­ed by no over-arch­ing tech­ni­cal standards.

The new body, as pro­posed by the ESB, would pro­vide clear lead­er­ship on DER gov­er­nance vision and con­tin­u­ing dis­trib­uted gov­ern­ing of DER tech­ni­cal standards.

This is pro­posed to be sup­port­ed by a new per­for­mance mon­i­tor­ing frame­work, with improved mon­i­tor­ing and com­pli­ance arrange­ments to allow ear­li­er detec­tion and reme­dies for non-compliance.

The body would estab­lish a set of tech­ni­cal stan­dards, designed to sup­port elec­tri­cal sys­tem secu­ri­ty, dis­tri­b­u­tion net­work man­age­ment and afford­abil­i­ty for con­sumers, includ­ing through the sale of DER services.

The tech­ni­cal stan­dards would address issues of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, data, cyber­se­cu­ri­ty, and demand response, and would aim to pro­vide a min­i­mum lev­el of pre­dictable per­for­mance under net­work con­straints or dur­ing pow­er sys­tem disturbances.

A crit­i­cal mass of DER, under active man­age­ment, may avoid the cost of dis­patch­ing or invest­ing in util­i­ty-scale gen­er­a­tion or ener­gy stor­age to pro­vide sys­tem secu­ri­ty ser­vices (e.g. fre­quen­cy con­trol reserves, volt­age con­trol). This would then pro­vide ben­e­fits to all consumers”

While DER can deliv­er ben­e­fits to many parts of the elec­tric­i­ty sys­tem, with­out appro­pri­ate tech­ni­cal stan­dards, wide­spread uptake of some forms of DER could also impact on the secure oper­a­tion of the elec­tric­i­ty sys­tem and dis­tri­b­u­tion networks.”

As RenewE­con­o­my has report­ed, the sub­ject of how to man­age Australia’s huge rooftop solar resource so that it ben­e­fits the greater grid, rather than impedes it, has been a par­tic­u­lar focus of the AEMO of late. Most recent­ly, it sought new rules allow­ing it to turn off solar exports on the rare occa­sions they threat­ened to over­whelm its abil­i­ty to man­age the grid.

The ESB paper pro­pos­es the DER Stan­dards Gov­er­nance Com­mit­tee would deter­mine DER tech­ni­cal stan­dards in a com­pa­ra­ble way to the Reli­a­bil­i­ty Pan­el sets reli­a­bil­i­ty standards.

These stan­dards, the paper says, would be man­aged to enable full stake­hold­er engage­ment while also keep­ing pace with evolv­ing tech­ni­cal needs for DER hard­ware and software.

It is vital­ly impor­tant that the min­i­mum tech­ni­cal stan­dards are nation­al­ly con­sis­tent, recog­nis­ing that some juris­dic­tions or Dis­tri­b­u­tion Net­work Ser­vice Providers (DNSPs) will need to set addi­tion­al require­ments for their cir­cum­stances,” the report says.

The gov­er­nance process, there­fore, needs to include input from a broad range of stake­hold­ers, includ­ing some from out­side the NEM.”

The ESB will hold a webi­nar on this con­sul­ta­tion paper in July and has asked for com­ments on the ques­tions for stake­hold­ers from inter­est­ed par­ties by 28 July 2020.

Source: https://​renewe​con​o​my​.com​.au/