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What is system security and reliability?

Security and reliability are terms used to discuss the strength and stability of the electricity grid, also known as an electric power ‘system’.

The security of an electricity grid is its technical resilience (or strength), namely its ability to quickly respond and remain stable when unexpected events occur. Examples of such events include generators breaking down or transmission lines failing.

Reliability is the ability of an electric power system to deliver electricity in the quantity and quality demanded by energy users.

System security and reliability in Australia

In Australia, power system security and reliability is primarily the responsibility of the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

The growing share of renewable energy in the national electricity grid is producing technical challenges that must be overcome to maintain our power system’s security and reliability. Research has found that renewable technologies and services including generation, embedded networks and distributed assets, can provide solutions to the challenges they have created.

ARENA action

Our purpose is to accelerate Australia’s shift to affordable and reliable renewable energy. By connecting investment, knowledge and people to deliver energy innovation, we are helping to build the foundation of a renewable energy ecosystem in Australia.

One of our funding priorities is therefore to identify and develop solutions that will protect the security and reliability of Australia’s electricity grid as it incorporates growing amounts of renewable energy.

System security

We provide funding support to projects that are focused on proving how renewables can provide technical services that are critical to protecting grid security. These are known as Frequency Control Ancillary Services or FCAS (PDF 34KB). To read more about our support for a range of FCAS trials and proof-of-concept demonstration projects using renewables visit our blog post: $7 million funding initiative for system security.

System reliability

We have identified and provided funding support for a range of projects developing renewable approaches to protect the reliability of Australia’s electricity supply. These include reducing or shifting energy demand to meet supply (see video below), improving information about electricity production and use, and developing ways to access or store renewable energy for use when it is needed.

We are also collaborating on projects with energy businesses to examine new ways to empower energy consumers that will deliver reliable renewable energy, and with policy makers to determine whether laws governing the electricity market should be changed to encourage reliable supply.

What are we looking for?

  • studies, tools and proof-of-concept projects to inform approaches for maintaining security and reliability as the share of variable renewable energy (VRE) grows
  • feasibility studies for activities that target new opportunities for technologies or business models that unlock wider network, system, market, regulatory or commercial benefits
  • demonstration and commercialisation of technologies that could balance the electricity system with higher shares of renewable energy, ensuring electricity is available where and when it is needed
  • new ways to evolve electricity grids to solve the challenges associated with more distributed energy resources (DER), and to maximise the value DER can provide DER includes solar PV, energy storage (including batteries and thermal energy storage), demand management and electric vehicles
  • projects that inform the development of energy policy, markets, regulations and industry practices and procedures relevant to a high renewables electricity future.

Read more

Knowledge Sharing

We share knowledge, insights and data from our funded projects to help the renewable energy industry and other projects learn from each other’s experiences. Our projects capture high-quality quantitative and qualitative data and information, linked with the needs of the market, while respecting our recipients’ commercial and contractual rights.

Read reports from our system security and reliability projects in the ARENA Knowledge Bank.

Last updated 04 November 2019
Last updated
04 November 2019

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