AEMO set to launch Australia’s first distributed energy database

RenewEconomy

The Australian Energy Market Operator will this weekend launch the nation’s first detailed database on distributed energy resources, as it prepares for a not-too-distant future grid that will source up to half of all its power needs from consumer-owned sources like rooftop solar.

AEMO said on Friday that the inaugural DER Register would be launched on Sunday, March 01, just over a year after the Australian Energy Market Commission amended the National Electricity Rules to pave the way for its establishment.

For consumers and industry, this means that from March 1, electricity distribution networks will require more data to be collected for small generators all across the eastern and southern states.

The data will be collected as a part of current grid connection approval processes managed by networks and installers and will have to be provided to AEMO’s DER Register within 20 days of the system commissioning or activation.

This will allow AEMO to capture all new future installations of rooftop solar, battery storage, electric vehicles and other equipment that has until now been largely invisible to the grid operator.

This capability has been considered critical to the effective management of the grid, which over the coming decades will likely source up to half of all its power from rooftop solar installed by households and businesses, and stored by solar batteries and batteries in electric vehicles.

It will also be used to keep track of residential and commercial electrical appliances equipped with “smart” capabilities to actively manage energy usage, such as air conditioners and pool pumps.

AEMO executive general manager of emerging markets and services, Violette Mouchaileh, said that the register came at a time when Australia’s energy ecosystem was rapidly transforming, and DER was shaping up to play a fundamental role in reliable, affordable energy supply.

“More and more Australians are investing in distribute energy devices, creating an opportunity to develop a world-leading system that harnesses electricity and energy-related services from DER in homes throughout Australia,” Mouchaileh said.

“With increased knowledge of DER, AEMO can better manage the grid and ensure that consumer-led energy investments support energy system reliability and security, while maximising value for Australia’s energy consumers,” she said.

AEMO says that, among other things, the register will allow the market operator to forecast, plan and operate the grid more efficiently, while also better preparing it for any major outages or disruptions to the system by using DER assets to support the grid during these events

The Register is also expected to allow AEMO to prepare the grid for major innovations, such as virtual power plants, and to enable customers to consider and participate in new markets with their own energy generation and management assets.

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