The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has awarded $9.6 million in funding to 12 projects and studies to further integrate distributed energy resources into the electricity system.
ARENA is providing $7.21m to five pilot projects led by Zeppelin Bend, Jemena, SA Power Networks, Solar Analytics and RACV.
Each project will trial novel approaches to increasing network hosting capacity with the objective of allowing the system to operate securely whilst maximising the ability of distributed energy, such as solar PV, to provide energy to the grid.
A further $2.38m has also been allocated to seven studies led by CitiPower and Powercor, Dynamic Limits, University of Tasmania, CSIRO, Oakley Greenwood, the Australian National University and the University of Melbourne.
The studies will investigate how to successfully integrate high penetrations of distributed energy resources into the grid and into the energy market.
Distributed energy resources encompasses behind-the-meter technologies such as rooftop solar, home batteries, inverters, controllable loads both in homes and commercial and industrial facilities, electric vehicle charging points, smart appliances and systems, and relevant enablers such as smart meters and data services.
Among the five projects funded is the Evolve project led by Zeppelin Bend, funded with the NSW Government, which will see software trialled on the NSW grid that will act as a traffic controller able to send signals to distributed energy resources assets to increase or decrease their energy output to manage grid congestion.
The seven studies include an ANU study on community energy models and a CSIRO study to prepare a model of the low voltage grid for public use.
ARENA CEO Darren Miller said these 12 projects and studies will help to maximise the potential benefits of distributed energy resources technologies owned by businesses.
“It is projected that up to half of all electricity could be generated by consumers within the next few decades, up from around 4 per cent today.
“This is a huge change and will require innovations in software, hardware and thinking to achieve the best outcome for consumers,” he said.