Have your say on technical standards for distributed energy resources like rooftop solar

The AEMC is investigating how small energy systems like rooftop solar can best contribute to Australia’s renewable energy future without risking system security.


Releasing its consultation paper yesterday, the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) has called for your views on the implications of setting minimum technical standards for distributed energy resources (DER) such as rooftop solar and batteries.

The rule request put forward by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), proposes that it set minimum standards that must apply to all new connected rooftop solar systems, household and business battery systems, and electric vehicles, delivering power to the grid.

Distributed energy resources are consumer-owned devices that, as individual units, can generate or store electricity or have the 'smarts' to actively manage energy demand. These devices will play an increasingly important role in meeting Australia’s energy needs into the future.

AEMC Chief Executive Benn Barr said there are currently no national standards enforced through the National Electricity Rules for this type of equipment.

“Uncertainty about the quality and performance of these small systems means the market operator is increasingly under pressure to restrict the energy generated by rooftop solar from entering the grid to avoid destabilisation,” Mr Barr said.

“It is clear that system security issues need to be addressed to avoid this scenario as rooftop solar penetration is expected to reach 14.64 GW total - an amount that could meet upwards of 40 per cent of underlying demand by 2025.

“But the introduction of new technical standards into the National Electricity Rules framework may have significant cost implications for both the installation of new systems and system monitoring into the future.”

The AEMC consultation paper outlines key questions to be addressed, including:

  • is the creation of a subordinate instrument for AEMO to set the initial minimum technical standard the most efficient way to address system security issues?
  • in the absence of a long-term governance framework, should AEMO's power to set the initial minimum technical standard be limited to addressing immediate concerns of voltage ride through and provision of an emergency backstop?
  • should the life of the initial subordinate instrument be limited until such a time when a broader governance framework for the DER minimum technical standard comes into place?
  • where and how should the standards be applied and who will monitor compliance?
  • who should bear the costs of implementing and complying with these new standards?

To read the consultation paper, go to the AEMC website here.

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