WA Government launches DER Roadmap

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WA Energy Minister Bill Johnston has today released the Distributed Energy Resources Roadmap, produced by the McGowan Government’s Energy Transformation Taskforce.  

Rooftop solar panels, batteries, electric vehicles and microgrids are transforming Western Australia’s electricity system. These small-scale devices, known as Distributed Energy Resources (DER), present challenges and opportunities to the WA power system.

Almost one in three households in the South West Interconnected System (SWIS) have rooftop solar, and this is expected to reach one in two over the next decade.

The DER Roadmap outlines the actions the state must take over the next five years in order to meet these challenges and harness the potential for cleaner, more affordable energy.

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The WA Government said in a statement the DER Roadmap is essential to ensure Western Australians can continue to install and enjoy the benefits of rooftop solar and new energy technologies.

Actions will include pilots to determine the best ways to overcome technical, regulatory and market barriers to integrate DER into our grid, including additional community batteries.  

Energy Policy WA, Western Power, Horizon Power, Synergy and the Australian Energy Market Operator are working together to implement the DER Roadmap.

Alongside the delivery of the Roadmap, the State Government is working with the energy sector to carefully monitor any impacts COVID-19 is having on the power system.

Energy Minister Bill Johnston said his government is on the front foot looking at how it can improve the state’s power system to continue to make the most of solar energy.

“The actions in the Roadmap will allow us to keep feeding more renewable energy into the grid for the benefit of all Western Australians. It is a robust plan for a brighter energy future,” Mr Johnston said.

“Building a responsive and resilient power system will allow us to successfully manage risks over time – COVID-19 is a timely reminder of the importance of this.”

Western Power said in a statement that the launch of the DER Roadmap marks an exciting new phase for energy.

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“We’ve been trialling and integrating distributed energy resources into the network for a while now from community batteries such as PowerBankelectric vehicles and microgrids to managing the uptake of solar. Our customers alone have installed around 270,000 rooftops solar photovoltaic (PV) systems,” the company said.

“Understanding how the network will function and developing capabilities to meet customer choices is critical to be us being future-ready and we’re ahead of the curve in evaluating many of these changing technologies.”

The Australian Energy Council (AEC) welcomed the roadmap as a “sensible plan to harness the benefits of new power delivery technologies for all energy users”.

AEC CEO Sarah McNamara said the roadmap shows that the energy transition is underway.

“[It’s] a transition that sees electricity become more of a consumer good and customers increasingly in control of how they consume and source their energy,” she said.