Australia launches DER database as climate change impacts reliability

The first detailed database of Distributed Energy Resources has been released, as the country’s Reliability Panel warns of dangers of climate change to grid.

The detailed database is the first of its kind in Australia and was launched on 1st March by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).  The move comes in a bid to allow the organisation to more effectively plan and operate an increasingly diverse grid, as well as being better prepared for major outages or system disruption.

The database comes just one year after the Australian Energy Market Commission amended its National Electricity Rules, which allowed the database to be set up, and is a critical element in the development of a grid which is predicted to source as much as half of all its power needs from consumer-owned sources in the near future.

The database requires domestic, industry and other smaller generators across Australia’s Eastern and Southern networks to provide more data for collection as part of the existing grid connection approval processes, currently managed by networks and installers.'

The data will then be fed into the DER Register within 20 days of a system being commissioned or activated.

Commenting on the new database, AEMO spokeswoman, Violette Mouchaileh said: ““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.”

She added: “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.”

The drive for reliability comes as Australia’s Energy Market Commission Reliability Panel warned that climate change is creating significant challenges in maintaining countrywide electricity supply reliability.  While stating that during 2018/19 – the period before the recent major wildfires – the electricity reliability standard was not actually breached, certain areas of the country experienced load shedding, particularly during high-temperature, high-demand days. 

The Panel’s report stated: ““As the number and range of weather events such as prolonged extreme temperatures, cyclones and bushfires increase as a result of climate change, the challenge of maintaining the secure operation of the power system will grow. The Panel notes that climate change already casts significant uncertainty over the stability of this power system operating environment, and will continue to do so into the future.”

The panel stated that long-term generation and distribution planning needed to examine underling climactic weather patterns that led to short-term extreme events. It also noted that emerging technologies, in particular battery storage, provided positive opportunities to ensure grid reliability.

Image: Energy Matters

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