The AEMC today launched a review into the regulatory frameworks for stand-alone power systems (SPSs).
An SPS is an electricity supply arrangement that is not physically connected to the national grid.
The term encompasses both microgrids, which supply electricity to multiple customers, and individual power systems, which relate only to single customers.
In general, SPSs are currently not captured under the national electricity frameworks. They are instead subject to jurisdictional legislative frameworks that vary in their comprehensiveness.
Changes in technology mean that stand-alone systems are becoming an increasingly viable option for providing electricity services to customers, particularly where the costs of providing of a grid-connected service might be high, for example in remote areas.
The review will consider the changes to the national electricity framework that are needed to enable SPSs to be used where it is economically efficient to do so, while maintaining appropriate consumer protections and service standards.
Under the terms of reference for the review provided by the COAG Energy Council, the Commission will consider two priority areas:
- Priority 1 will mainly focus on the development of a national framework for customers that move from grid-connected supply to stand alone power systems provided by existing distribution network service providers
- Priority 2 will consider a national framework for the provision of stand alone power systems by parties other than distribution network service providers.
The AEMC will publish an issues paper for priority one of the review in September 2018.