Distributed energy resourcesProject Community Models for Deploying and Operating DER
This is the final report for the ANU Community Models for Deploying and Operating DER project, carried out by the Battery Storage and Grid Integration Program.
Community-scale batteries have the potential to play an integral role in Australia’s transition to a decentralised grid. These batteries are connected to the distribution network and have power capacities of up to 5MW. Our work has shown that the location and sizing of this type of storage makes it uniquely suited to providing social, economic and technical benefits to the broader energy system.
There is widespread interest in shared storage and in community energy more generally, from industry, governments, new entrants, and the community at large. In Western Australia, several trial community-scale batteries projects are underway. The success of these projects has led to a push to understand how best to operate community-scale batteries on the rest of Australia’s electricity network, the national electricity market (NEM).
The wide-scale roll-out of community-scale batteries on the NEM faces challenges; our research revealed that projects owned by Distribution Network Service Providers (DNSPs) face regulatory barriers, retailer- owned models face trust issues, and community-owned models face logistical issues. The challenges and also the benefits are outlined in the first two sections of this report.
Key lessons learnt
1. Community-scale batteries are already financially viable, particularly if FCAS markets can be accessed
2. Reduced local network tariffs are crucial for incentivising battery charging from locally generated solar energy and sale of energy to local customers
3. Householders care about more than just affordability when it comes to energy storage
4. Network tariffs and market signals shape how the battery’s actions contribute to hosting capacity
5. Community-scale batteries can increase the amount of DER that can be integrated into the distribution grid
6. The technical capability for implementing community-scale storage on the NEM already exists
7. Only DNSP-owned community-scale batteries currently require regulatory exemptions. All other models investigated can proceed within the current rules and regulations
8. Industry professionals saw significant potential benefits of community-scale batteries, including over behind the-meter (BTM), virtual power plant (VPP) storage.