ARENA launches DER integration program

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced a major new initiative that will see the whole-of-the-energy industry working together to harness the potential of consumer owned energy.

According to CSIRO and AEMO forecasts, up to 45 per cent of all electricity generated in Australia will be coming from distributed energy resources (DER) by 2050, compared to just 3 per cent today.

The Distributed Energy Integration Program (DEIP) is a collaboration of energy peak bodies, market authorities, industry associations and consumers associations to maximise the value of customers’ distributed resources for all energy users.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said bringing together key stakeholders in the energy sector would help to ensure quicker and more effective integration of DERs.

“Australia is at the global forefront of the adoption of distributed energy, and will have one of the most decentralised energy systems in the world in the coming decades,” he said.

“There are currently more than 1.8 million rooftop solar systems already installed in Australia, and this is only expected to grow as more Australians install home batteries, home energy management systems, smart appliances and start driving electric cars.

“The uptake of these technologies is only expected to grow which is why we need to grapple with the implications of this now.”

To deal with the expected increase in uptake of rooftop solar, home batteries and other technologies in the coming decades, changes are required to system planning, operations, markets, regulatory frameworks and industry business models.

The DEIP will work together to coordinate the rollout of initiatives aimed at growing the penetration of DERs in Australia through improved cost and time efficiencies, informing energy consumers and supporting development of innovative business models.

The joint initiative will involve ARENA, Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), Australia Energy Market Commission (AEMC), Australian Energy Regulator, Clean Energy Regulator, Energy Consumers Australia, Clean Energy Council, Australian Energy Council, Energy Networks Australia, CSIRO and Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

“We look forward to integrating DER in a way that maximises consumer value through price, greater choice, and the provision of a secure and reliable system,” AEMO managing director Audrey Zibelman said.

“The future power system will see more consumers buying and selling energy in a dynamic way in response to price signals.”

AEMC chief executive Anne Pearson said the commission is adapting regulatory frameworks so consumers can optimise the value of their investments in distributed energy resources.

“This can help consumers manage their bills, while also providing more options for AEMO to keep the system secure and reliable,” she said.