16 October 2014
- Project Mapping Network Opportunities for Renewable Energy
ARENA today announced $425,000 funding to create online maps of electricity network constraints to help better inform network investments and increase the use of renewable energy.
ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said the Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) would develop annually updated maps and make them freely available online.
“Currently there is a lack of clear, accessible and timely network information across the National Electricity Market,” Mr Frischknecht said.
“A consistent, standardised approach will be developed with Australia’s poles and wires businesses to make data more accessible and easier to understand and use.
“The maps will help renewable energy and demand management project developers to anticipate network constraints, reduce the need for new grid infrastructure and lower electricity bills.
“The new maps may also enable faster development of renewable energy by showing where renewables and demand management can be more cost effective than network upgrades.”
ISF Research Director Chris Dunstan said the energy sector is changing quickly and new tools are needed to manage this transition.
“The rapid rise of rooftop solar, local generation, energy efficient equipment and battery storage means managing networks is becoming both more challenging and more collaborative,” Mr Dunstan said.
“The three year project will provide a key resource for developing this collaboration between networks, customers and renewable energy providers.
“It has the potential to lower electricity costs, improve energy services and develop new markets for networks and renewable energy.”
Ergon Energy Manager of Demand Management Glenn Dahlenburg said the network is providing full support to the project to complement its existing efforts to engage broad market participation for developing alternatives to network upgrades.
“Ergon Energy sees these maps as a valuable tool to provide customers and stakeholders with information on the location and value of network improvement opportunities,” Mr Dahlenburg said.
The project has strong support from the network industry through partnerships with Ergon Energy, ElectraNet and TransGrid. Other project partners include ARENA, ISF, NSW Department of Trade and Investment.
ARENA was established by the Australian Government as an independent agency on 1 July 2012 to make renewable energy technologies more affordable and increase the amount of renewable energy used in Australia. ARENA invests in renewable energy projects, supports research and development activities, boosts job creation and industry development, and increases knowledge about renewable energy.
About the Institute for Sustainable Futures
The Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) is a research institute at the University of Technology Sydney that creates change towards sustainable futures by conducting independent project based research for Australian and international clients. ISF works with industry, government and the community on research projects across a range of research areas using a variety of approaches. These projects foster lasting change and aim to build independent capacity in clients by passing on knowledge and skills.
About Ergon Energy
Ergon Energy is a Queensland Government-owned corporation that supplies electricity to around 700,000 customers. It operates across a vast area of more than one million square kilometres, covering approximately 97 per cent of the state, from the expanding coastal and rural population centres to the remote communities of outback Queensland and the Torres Strait. Ergon Energy has close to 4500 employees and a $10.6 billion asset base.
TransGrid has been an integral part of delivering electricity to the people of New South Wales for more than 60 years. It owns and operates one of the largest high-voltage transmission networks in Australia with more than 12,900 kilometres of transmission line and 97 substations. It connects generators, distributors and major end-users in NSW and the ACT and also has links to QLD and VIC, facilitating interstate energy trading. Its operations are closely regulated to ensure power system security. TransGrid’s aim is to provide a safe, reliable, efficient and world-class electricity supply from power generators to distributors, which then deliver the electricity to homes across the state.
ElectraNet operates in the National Electricity Market and is the principal Transmission Network Service Provider in South Australia. ElectraNet is an asset management, project management and contract management business and competitively sources its construction and asset maintenance requirements, ensuring best-practice outcomes for the market, business and its customers.
About NSW Department of Trade & Investment
NSW Trade & Investment is the lead economic development agency in New South Wales, responsible for driving sustainable economic growth across the state. The Department’s Division of Resources and Energy is tasked with ensuring the distribution of safe, reliable and cost-competitive energy to consumers, and supports growing investment in renewable energy in NSW.