Have your say on DER rule change requests

DER, energy efficient, rooftop solar

The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) is calling for submissions on proposed changes to better integrate distributed energy resources (DER) such as rooftop solar, batteries, electric vehicles and other smart appliances.

A consultation paper released today covers three rule requests that aim to remove barriers to the integration of consumer-owned energy resources.

Distributed energy resources – or DERs – are devices connected to the electricity distribution network that 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.

The changes have been requested by SA Power Networks, the St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria, and a joint request from the Total Environment Centre together with the Australian Council of Social Service.

They are the result of detailed work undertaken over the past nine months by a broad collaboration of stakeholders, which is addressing consumer-driven power system change through the Distributed Energy Integration Program (DEIP).

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The changes in this package of rule requests is focused on giving distribution networks clearer obligations on their role to facilitate two-way flows of electricity and provide more flexibility in the way DER can be connected to the grid so consumers can have the access they want to smarter, cleaner energy.

The AEMC’s formal consultation process is now open to all stakeholders to provide feedback on the proposed changes:

  • Updating the regulatory framework to reflect the community expectation for distribution networks to efficiently provide export services to support DER.
  • Promoting incentives for efficient investment in, and operation and use of, export services.
  • Enabling export charges as a pricing tool to: send efficient signals for future expenditure associated with export services; reward customers for actions that better utilise the network or improve network operations, and allocate costs in a fair and efficient way.

We recognise some of these proposals are contentious and we are establishing a Technical Working Group to inform our consideration of the requests.

A virtual public forum will be held on August 13, 2020 prior to submissions on the consultation paper closing on September 10, 2020.

About the distributed energy integration program (DEIP)

These rule change requests are part of a coordinated program of work to integrate distributed energy resources as part of the ‘grid of the future’ in a way that benefits all energy users.

All three requests flow from recommendations made by the AEMC in last year’s electricity network economic regulatory framework (ENERF) review, which focused on identifying reforms and actions to facilitate efficient integration of distributed energy resources. 

DEIP is a collaborative forum of government agencies, market bodies, industry associations and consumer associations aimed at maximising the value of customers’ distributed energy resources (DER) for all energy users. DEIP is not an organisation and it does not have dedicated resources.

The DEIP access and pricing working group includes the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS), Total Environment Centre (TEC), Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC),  the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC), Energy Consumers Australia (ECA), the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) and Energy Networks Australia (ENA).

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Consultation details

These consultation paper Distributed energy resources integration – updating regulatory arrangements covers issues raised in the three rule change requests.

The three rule change projects are

  • Network planning and access for DER (Total Environment Centre & Australian Council of Social Services): ERC0309
  • Allowing distribution network service providers to charge for exports to the network (St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria): ERC0310
  • Access, pricing and incentive arrangements for DER (SA Power Networks): ERC0311 & RRC0039

Download the consultation paper here.

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