Distributed energy resources, or ‘DER’, are smaller–scale devices that can either use, generate, or store electricity and form a part of the local distribution system, which serves homes and businesses. DER can include renewable generation, energy storage, electric vehicles, and controlled appliances, such as air conditioners and pool pumps.
In Western Australia, more than 25% of households now have a solar PV system. With around 1,000 megawatts of solar PV installed in our main grid in the south west of the State, solar PV is now the biggest source of generation in the system — three times the size of the largest traditional generator, the 340 megawatt Collie Power Station.
DER create an exciting opportunity to reduce electricity costs and lower emissions from the energy sector. However, they can also present a risk to system security if not properly managed. Over the coming five years, continued uncoordinated uptake of rooftop solar PV systems will see daytime demand for traditional thermal generation fall to levels at which the stability of our main power system in the south west of the state is likely to be compromised.
In some parts of the State, new solar PV installations are already being restricted, as our network operators find solutions to local grid stability issues. To avoid this, a new policy framework is urgently needed to coordinate the efficient integration of DER into our power system.
In response to these challenges, the Energy Transformation Taskforce will develop a DER Roadmap to ensure we can integrate growing levels of DER into the State’s electricity systems in a safe and secure way and to make sure customers can continue to benefit from solar PV and other new technologies.
The Roadmap will guide changes to policies, regulations, technical requirements and customer protections to support the integration of DER over the short, medium and longer term. The Roadmap will also provide guidance on how DER can be integrated with the operation of the power system and Wholesale Electricity Market in the south west.
In parallel with the development of the DER Roadmap, the Taskforce will revise the network connection requirements and performance standards for distributed energy technologies.
The Taskforce will also improve the visibility of DER on the power grid to enable the system operator to better manage their effect on system security.
On 30 July, the Energy Transformation Implementation Unit held the first DER Roadmap – Industry Workshop.
The DER Roadmap aims to deliver an action-oriented plan that identifies the policy, regulatory, customer protection and technical requirements to support high levels of DER whilst ensuring safe, secure and affordable electricity in the short, medium and long term.
The Workshop asked industry, Government, consumer and other interested stakeholders to understand the key issues for consideration in the DER Roadmap, and to prioritise further work.
All enquiries and input on this project are welcome, and can be directed to (08) 6551 2397 or [email protected].
Last reviewed: August 2019