Increased penetration of distributed energy resources (DER) are leaving power system operations vulnerable to the operating behaviour of a multitude of diverse, distributed generators.
The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has identified a need for short time resolution data around voltage disturbances to understand DER behaviour and improve dynamic modelling. In this project, Solar Analytics will work with AEMO (customer) and Wattwatchers (hardware/firmware) to develop automated data acquisition and delivery. The project aims to increase visibility and improve modelling capability in a world-first analysis of individual load and generator responses in the event of short time resolution voltage disturbances.
This project aimed to help AEMO manage the transition to an energy system with a high proportion DER. Analysis of data collected through Wattwatchers monitoring devices has resulted in several outcomes of system relevance, including:
- A new voltage ride-through test which has been incorporated into the new Distributed Energy Resource (DER) technical standards
- A change in constraints on the South-Australia – Victoria Heywood Interconnector
- A recommendation for managing minimum operational demand in South Australia, which led to the South Australian Smarter Homes regulations
- Engagement with inverter manufacturers to review settings in fielded systems
- Updates to system models, including more accurate contingency calculations based on more accurate understanding of DPV response
- Initiation of a similar program of analysis in the South-West Interconnected System.
The project findings have resulted in significant changes made by AEMO and complementary research programs will help AEMO manage the system without requiring severe limits on DER hosting capacity. It is expected that the probability of a major system outage due to unexpected impacts of DPV has been reduced through the changes made as a result of this project and associated research.
How the project works
Solar Analytics will work with AEMO to provide grid-side data in response to distributed solar to grid disturbances. As rooftop PV systems are installed behind the meter, AEMO has limited visibility of their behaviour. AEMO will analyse the project data and develop its internal models to improve dynamic analysis. The project will also research cost-effective short time resolution data recording and automatic triggering of data capture using the Wattwatchers hardware. The project seeks to deliver automated data capture and transfer triggered by grid events with significant value to grid operations.
Area of innovation
This project brings together AEMO with local innovators and manufacturers to deliver increased data visibility and improved models of power system operation and scenario analysis. With one of the highest penetrations of rooftop solar in the world, Australia is one of the first to face the challenges of operational visibility during grid disturbances. Automated triggering of high-quality, low cost data when it is needed is a practical and innovative solution that will help pave the way for the energy transition both here and around the world.
Australia’s power system is designed to handle unexpected events, including lightning strikes, cable disconnects and plant shutdowns. At these times, the behaviour of rooftop PV can be a significant factor, contributing to system needs for frequency control and other measures for secure operation. Ultimately, this project aims to increase the amount of rooftop PV the system can handle. It will do so by improving the predictability of system behaviour through more accurate models and scenario analysis for grid and market operations during system disturbances.
The solar monitoring service can deliver hundreds of dollars in annual savings for households and reduce strain on the grid.
As Australians embrace rooftop solar at world-leading rates, work is underway to create a modern, fairer electricity system for the future.
To support the transition to an electricity network that is increasingly powered by small-scale energy assets, ARENA has announced $9.6 million funding for 12 new projects and studies.
According to the twentieth century model of energy distribution, large power plants fuelled by coal, hydro or gas, generated electricity that was distributed via a centralised grid.