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This report explores how dynamic operating envelopes can support the integration of DER without breaching the physical and operational limits of distribution networks.

Report extract

We are currently witnessing the increasing deployment of DER including distributed solar PV, residential and suburb scale battery storage, electric vehicles and controllable loads. Overwhelmingly, these DER resources are being installed in the low and medium voltage segments of electricity distribution networks. These DER assets can contribute to energy reliability and energy security through their participation in markets for energy and ancillary services. However, without appropriate co-ordination DER can in result in dynamic two- way flows of energy that threaten the physical or operational limits of electricity distribution networks.

In this context, there are open questions about what new technology capabilities, regulations and market mechanisms are necessary to support the integration of DER without breaching the physical and operational limits of distribution networks. In the evolve Project, we are exploring the use of dynamic operating envelopes to address this question.

What is an operating envelope?

An operating envelope is the DER or connection point behaviour that can be accommodated before physical or operational limits of a distribution network are breached. A dynamic operating envelope is a principled allocation of the available hosting capacity to individual or aggregate DER or connection points within a segment of an electricity distribution network in each time interval. A dynamic operating envelope essentially provides upper and lower bounds on the import or export power in a given time interval for either individual DER assets or a connection point.

Operating envelope benefits

There are several benefits of operating envelopes at the current maturity levels of DER deployed within the electricity system:

  1. Operating envelopes can address multiple use cases including challenges currently being faced in
    both electricity distribution networks and at the whole of system level.
  2. Operating envelopes promise to be simple to implement across a variety of different DER assets, and do not require the use of sophisticated local control and optimisation systems. This has the potential to increase adoption and compliance from the variety of DER assets installed in Australian distribution networks.
  3. Operating envelopes can be deployed progressively into different segments of a distribution network as they are needed.
Last updated 05 October 2020
Last updated
05 October 2020
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