Energy network businesses that deliver customer outcomes and innovative ways of solving the sector’s complex problems were recognised at the Energy Networks Australia 2019 Annual Awards.
Consumer Engagement Award
The winner of the Energy Networks Australia and Energy Consumers Australia 2019 Consumer Engagement Award, Jemena, was the unanimous choice of the judging panel for its Gas Networks Deliberative Forum in NSW as well as its People’s Panel citizens’ jury in Victoria.
Developing the engagement strategy for Jemena’s 2020 Plan began early, two years ahead of the submission. Jemena worked to understand how the customers wanted to engage and what topics were important to them. Jemena held multiple sessions with the same groups building their capacity to challenge the company and debate complex topics. The engagement strategy included providing individual bill impacts and overall costs, which allowed customers to make meaningful decisions, helping shape Jemena’s plans and the network’s culture.
Energy Consumers Australia CEO Rosemary Sinclair presented the award, saying that lifting consumer engagement with more innovative approaches was a critical part of the energy modernisation project taking place.
“Rebuilding trust with consumers starts with embracing them as partners in change and doing everything we can to inform our decisions with consumer preferences and views,” Ms Sinclair said.
“Initiatives like Jemena’s, to make engagement opportunities accessible and inclusive with translators, childcare assistance, transport services and in-language consultation, shows strong progress and we look forward to these approaches becoming the norm.
“We hope this reflects how consumer engagement is maturing across the network part of the energy sector,” Ms Sinclair said.
Related article: Transmission experts talk energy transition
Other finalists were:
Horizon Power (WA) – Solar Incentives Scheme
Horizon Power’s Solar Incentives Scheme is investing $1.07m to co-fund up to 900kW of community-owned solar in eight remote Aboriginal communities. Co-designed with Aboriginal corporations during 12 months of face-to-face community engagement, the feedback was that while communities knew solar would save money, it was expensive upfront, a big technical decision, and they weren’t sure whom to work with. Based on this community feedback, Horizon Power created the scheme offering each community a grant (30 per cent capped at $100,000) along with engineering and project management support.
SA Power Networks (SA) – Community Engagement
In developing its 2020-2025 Tariff Structure Statement (TSS), SA Power Networks engaged with customers and stakeholder representatives to develop fit-for-the-future tariffs that had the support of stakeholders and addressed key challenges influencing reliability and cost for customers. By working collaboratively over time with a wide group of stakeholders, SA Power Networks constructively engaged on a tariff setting strategy.
Powerlink (Qld) – 2023-27 Revenue Determination
With its customers, Powerlink co-designed the engagement approach for its 2023-27 revenue determination process. It worked closely with its customer panel to develop the agenda and structure of the workshop, which involved 40 participants, including customers, advocates, stakeholders and members of Powerlink’s Board and executive team. Powerlink’s customers and stakeholders played a direct role in developing a process that will influence investment decisions and planning.
Industry Innovation Award
Electranet’s Dalrymple Battery Energy Storage Project
Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio presented the Energy Networks Industry Innovation Award to South Australian transmission network ElectraNet for its Dalrymple Battery Energy Storage Project.
The Dalrymple 30MW, 8MWh Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) is the first transmission grid-connected battery in the National Electricity Market (NEM) providing regulated and competitive market services.
The project involved the development of a first-of-its-kind commercial model to support the provision of regulated reliability and security services alongside competitive market services. ElectraNet navigated the NEM registration, licencing and connection processes and then created the largest autonomous regional micro-grid development to date, co-optimised for both grid-connected and islanded operation with 100 per cent renewables.
Mr Dillon congratulated ElectraNet for delivering an Australian-first storage and market solution to accommodate the needs of a highly complex local energy system.
“ElectraNet’s model provides a blueprint that can be replicated by other networks and it is particularly suited to renewable energy zones and fringe of grid geographies,” Mr Dillon said.
“With a clear objective, ElectraNet has demonstrated great collaboration in thinking about how to solve problems.
“It has navigated the National Electricity Market registration, licensing and connection processes and then created the largest autonomous regional micro-grid development to date, co-optimised for both grid-connected and islanded operation with 100 per cent renewables.”
Related article: Microgrid project to power jobs in the Peel
Other finalists were:
ATCO – Clean Energy Innovation Hub
ATCO has created the first ‘green’ hydrogen (zero-emissions fuel) in Australia through its Clean Energy Innovation Hub. It is an industry-leading research and development facility for testing different combinations of clean energy technology including photovoltaics, batteries, gas-fired turbines and the production, storage and end-use of ’green‘ hydrogen in a ’living lab’ micro-grid setup. Pure ‘green’ hydrogen is stored in a high-pressure storage vessel then distributed within the micro-grid as a blended fuel for normal consumption, as a direct fuel for testing and for back-up power to a residential hybrid energy home. Read more about the project on page 22-26 of this issue.
Power and Water (NT) – Darwin’s DFA Trial
Power and Water commissioned six trial distribution fault anticipation (DFA) devices on its worst-performing feeders that analysed the discrete changes in system parameters, alerting about developing faults. The project challenged conventional beliefs of traditional fault behaviour and feeder performance, in particular, the belief that bat-related activity is sporadic and transient, making it largely financially unviable to remediate.