Keeping pace with change


Australia’s energy system continues its rapid transition from one built around large-scale centralised synchronous generation to one that is ever more dispersed, weather-dependent and increasingly led by consumers.

As a nation, Australia leads the world in the uptake and utilisation of distributed energy resources (DER), most commonly rooftop solar PV, going from 100,000 systems in 2010 to more than 2.5 million in 2020. This is an exciting trend, as consumers have more choice and access to different sources of energy to meet their individual needs.

The continued penetration of rooftop PV installations is resulting in large volumes of excess electricity flooding back into the grid, leading to record daytime minimum operational demand levels.

This can make the electricity system unstable and contribute to new challenges of managing voltage, system strength, and inertia if that excess energy isn’t able to be stored or otherwise used. This is important to manage given that so many consumers and businesses rely on access to this energy for everyday lives.

As Australia’s independent market and system operator, AEMO is collaborating with industry, jurisdictions, and market bodies to develop technical solutions and support cost-effective reforms to keep the power system secure and reliable with high levels of DER, namely rooftop solar, and ensure consumer choice and outcomes are delivered.

This includes creating incentives for households to shift some of their energy use to better align with peak output of rooftop solar PV, such as high-use electricity devices, or start storing some of the output either through residential or community batteries.

The industry is working towards the continued installation of rooftop solar and harnessing the greatest possible value this offers for consumers, along with shared benefits for all energy users with a reliant, secure and efficient power system.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own, and do not necessarily reflect those held by pv magazine.

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