WA Government launches Energy Transformation Strategy

Warradarge Wind Farm (WA councils)
Albany Wind Farm, WA

Western Australian Energy Minister Bill Johnston has launched the Western Australian Energy Transformation Strategy that aims to deliver cleaner, affordable and more reliable energy to households and businesses for decades to come.

The electricity sector is experiencing a major transformation because of the rapid uptake of rooftop solar panels and battery storage systems, and increasing levels of large-scale renewable generators, such as wind and solar farms.

To maximise the environmental benefits and minimise the costs of this transition, the McGowan Government says it will develop a Whole of System Plan that will detail how the more co-ordinated power system of the future may look.

The Whole of System Plan will be complemented by a Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Roadmap, which will guide the integration of onsite generation (solar panels), battery storage and future technologies such as electric vehicles.

The DER Roadmap will be produced by the end of 2019 and the first Whole of System Plan in mid-2020.

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These initiatives will be developed alongside changes to modernise the Wholesale Electricity Market to enhance power system security and improvements to enable new, largely renewable generators to access Western Power’s network.

Energy Minister Bill Johnston said Western Australia is blessed with world-class solar and wind resources, abundant gas supply, a wealth of battery metals, and a highly skilled workforce.

“We have a genuine opportunity to lead the way in establishing a cleaner, brighter and more resilient energy supply for decades to come,” he said.

“It’s clear that the generation mix will continue to change, so it’s important we have a whole of system approach to plan for the future.”

Energy Networks Australia CEO Andrew Dillon welcomed the Western Australian Government’s announcement.

“The power prices consumers pay are linked to the total system cost, so it makes sense to consider how the co-ordinated end-to-end power system of the future should look,” Mr Dillon said.

“It’s a positive step that a government is thinking beyond short-term rebates and starting to plan for how we manage an integrated low emissions electricity system.

“Energy Networks Australia will tomorrow be launching the first of a set of guidelines for safe, consistent and efficient connection of solar, storage and battery devices to the grid.”

Distributed energy resources (DER), which include household solar panels and batteries, present challenges to electricity grids that were not designed to handle individual energy sources.

This is why Energy Networks Australia and the Australian Energy Market Operator are working on the Open Energy Networks project.

The project is investigating how best to integrate DER into Australia’s electricity grid.

“Open Energy Networks is developing options to improve the electricity system to ensure household solar and storage work in harmony with a grid that was never designed for two-way energy flows,” Mr Dillon said.

“As we move to greener grids, this work will help ensure reliable supply and lower household power bills for all customers.

“We look forward to seeing more detail about the WA Government’s planning program for DER integration.”

More information about the National Connection (DER) guidelines can be found here.

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