Australia’s Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has awarded AU$9.6 million (approximately US$6.8 million) in funding to 12 projects aimed at boosting integration of distributed energy resources (DER) into the country’s power grid.
A total of AU$7.21 million will be allocated to five pilot projects led by Zeppelin Bend, Jemena, SA Power Networks, Solar Analytics and RACV.
The projects will each hold trials for new concepts aimed at boosting hosting capacity and maximising the addition of renewable energy to the grid.
Another $2.38 million has been allocated to studies led by CitiPower & Powercor, Dynamic Limits, University of Tasmania, CSIRO, Oakley Greenwood, the Australian National University and the University of Melbourne. These seven studies will be investigating how to significantly add capacity into an energy grid.
One of the projects set to receive funding, Zeppelin Bend, will also receive funding by the New South Wales state government. The project will feature software trialled on the state’s grid that will act as a traffic controller, capable of communicating with DER assets to both increase and decrease their energy output to manage grid congestion.
ARENA CEO Darren Miller said: “Rooftop solar, batteries and other customer-related energy technologies are set to play a key role in shaping the future energy system. It is projected that up to half of all electricity could be generated by consumers within the next few decades, up from around 4% today. This is a huge change and will require innovations in software, hardware and thinking to achieve the best outcome for consumers.”
“ARENA is extremely excited to be funding some of the best experts in the energy sector to build network hosting capacity technology and further understand the impacts of DER and to identify, and ultimately solve, the technical limits of our electricity grid"