Stocktake to help renewables work with the grid

An updated Integrating Renewables into the Grid Stocktake has been announced to make it easier for the renewables and electricity network sectors to work together.

The Energy Networks Association (ENA), in partnership with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), has released the updated database of 208 local and international projects that boost the country’s knowledge of integrating renewable energy into distribution networks.

ENA CEO John Bradley said Australia’s electricity grid was the backbone of the energy system and would play a vital role in Australia’s clean energy future.

“There are tangible benefits to be gained from increased integration of renewables into the network, though these come with some economic, technical and regulatory challenges,” Mr Bradley said.

ARENA is supporting the development, updating and online hosting of the Stocktake.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said enabling renewables and grids to work together effectively would be critical to increasing the supply of renewable energy in Australia.

“Our electricity grids and regulations were designed to cater for centralised power generation from large power plants. As more de-centralised renewable energy comes online, there will be a myriad of challenges and opportunities for utilities, energy retailers and policy makers to work through,” Mr Frischknecht said.

“The Stocktake will be invaluable for facilitating this work by providing a one-stop-shop for information on current projects, along with the outcomes of past efforts.”

ARENA, ENA and other partners have worked together since the first release in 2014 to ensure the Stocktake remains relevant to interested industry stakeholders.

“It’s critical that energy networks, the renewables sector, research institutions and technology developers collaborate to advance the evolution of the energy system,” Mr Bradley said.

One such collaboration between the Queensland University of Technology, Ergon Energy, Central Queensland University and international researchers – Planning Future Energy Grids: Renewables – developed viable tools for predicting output from rooftop solar panels and the optimal size and placement of batteries to support network peak demand and avoid network upgrade expenditure.

“This is a vital project given Australia leads the world in the penetration of rooftop solar panels, with 1.5 million installations delivering more than 5000MW of generation capacity,” Mr Bradley said.