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Solar energy

Increasing Visibility of Distribution Networks to Maximise PV Penetration Levels

  • $1.19m

    ARENA Funding

  • $2.88m

    Total Project Value

  • Project basics

    ARENA Program

    N/A

    Lead Organisation

    University of Queensland

    Start Date

    Dec 2017

    Project Partners

    Queensland University of Technology, Australian Power Institute, Energy Networks Australia, Tasnetworks, United Energy, Energex Part of the Energy Queensland Group, Aurecon, Redback Technologies, Springfield City Group

    Location

    Brisbane

    Status

    Current

Project Basics

ARENA Program

N/A

Lead Organisation

University of Queensland

Start Date

Dec 2017

Project Partners

Queensland University of Technology, Australian Power Institute, Energy Networks Australia, Tasnetworks, United Energy, Energex Part of the Energy Queensland Group, Aurecon, Redback Technologies, Springfield City Group

Location

Brisbane

Status

Current

This project aims to support electricity distribution companies to take a less conservative approach in assessing and approving additional customer photovoltaic (PV) systems to be connected to their networks. This is achieved by providing them with a better understanding of the operational conditions of their networks through the application of a proven state estimation technique (SEA) that generates an estimate of the networks’ operational conditions. These estimated results will form part of a network analysis tool through which the likely impact of the additional PV systems can be assessed.

How the project works

The Project will deliver two outcomes:

Outcome 1: The ultimate aim is to increase solar PV penetration levels, and reduce solar PV connection costs for customers. SEA will be trialed on seven medium voltage (MV) distribution feeders located in South-east Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania. A new semi-automated network analysis computer program will be developed and trialled with the aim of improving their current PV connection assessment process.

Outcome 2: The SEA will also be trialled in real-time mode for monitoring the operating conditions on a local low voltage (LV) distribution line and controlling customer devices. This trial will explore whether customers could supply useful data to the SEA and enable customer PV export restrictions to be lifted and improve the safety and efficiency of the distribution network.

Area of innovation

The project will advance the existing and proven SEA technology from a proven prototype demonstration to a semi-automated system completed and qualified through tests and demonstration on feeders in the partner distribution network service provider (DNSP) networks.

Benefit

The Program will significantly increase the penetration and use of distributed PV renewable generation by removing barriers to greater customer uptake of PV in the capacity range 15kW to 5MW that connect to LV or medium voltage MV distribution networks. It also fills a critical knowledge gap for integrating renewable generation into distribution grids. More specifically for the distribution companies to know the operating state of their LV and MV distribution networks so they can plan and operate their networks more effectively to maintain mandated electricity supply quality and the safe loading of their distribution networks.

Media Releases

Contact information

Prof Simon Bartlett, Project Manager

+ 61 411 600 584

simon.bartlett@uq.edu.au