Standards Australia makes change for inverters

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Standards Australia has published revised standards for household and small-scale commercial inverters, which play an essential role in interfacing between renewable energy sources (such as solar and batteries) and the electricity grid.

AEMO welcomed the updated AS/NZS4777.2 Standard, published on December 18 last year, after an accelerated industry consultation and development timeframe.

The Australian Standard, AS/NZS 4777.2 Grid connection of energy systems via inverters, Part 2: Inverter requirements specifies the expected autonomous performance and behaviour of household or small-scale commercial inverters that connect solar PV, batteries, and vehicle-to-grid electric vehicle chargers to the electricity network.

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The revised standard supports the delivery of more affordable energy to consumers, allowing more distributed energy resources (DER) to be installed, whilst maintaining the stability of the grid it is connected to, delivering benefits such as:

  • Ensuring that DER remains connected during certain power system disturbances, which will in turn improve the overall reliability and security of the grid. The improved certainty regarding the expected performance and resilience of DER systems helps AEMO to optimise power system operations and keep costs down.
  • Increased hosting capacity of distribution feeders to ensure that DER systems can continue to connect, with reduced need for static export limitations or network side expenditure – delivering affordable and autonomous solutions to integrate DER into the power system.

AEMO Chief Member Services Officer, Violette Mouchaileh, said: “This important revision comes in response to a request from AEMO in June 2019, aimed at improving inverter performance and helping to maintain a safe and stable supply for the community as solar PV continues to grow across Australia”.

AEMO’s Integrated System Plan (ISP) states the National Electricity Market (NEM) needs more than 26 gigawatts (GW) of new variable renewables in the system as 63 per cent of coal-fired generation is set to retire by 2040. Distributed energy resources, like rooftop PV, are expected to at least double by 2040. A similar trend is predicted for the South Western Interconnected System (SWIS) in Western Australia, where rooftop PV is expected to double by 2030 from today’s installed capacity.

“Our challenge is to facilitate and manage the transformation of the energy system, while continuing to deliver low-cost, secure and reliable energy for all Australians,” Ms Mouchaileh said.

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“Industry standards as well as policy and regulatory frameworks must adapt to the changing needs of the electricity grid, to support a secure and reliable network that delivers affordable electricity to consumers,” she said.

The Standards Australia revision was completed in less than 18 months, which is a significant achievement given the complexity of the changes proposed and the breadth of the committee. It highlights the importance of collaboration across industry to respond to the fast-paced developments required by the energy industry through its current transition.

“AEMO recognises the dedication, hard work and cooperation of Standards Australia and the committee members (EL 042) who really went above and beyond to enable consensus in a compressed timeframe,” Ms Mouchaileh said.

AEMO’s next priority for standards will be to further develop the interoperability functionality of inverters, expanding device capabilities to allow remote output management, querying and changing device settings, and various options for coordination of DER. This will allow improved network management and development of new retail options by retailers to provide consumers the ability to individualise and optimise their energy services while opening up new opportunities to increase their return on investment.

For a copy of AS/NZS 4777.2 please visit the Standards Australia website.