Energy Networks Australia, along with the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), has released new interactive maps of Australia’s energy grid to help identify optimal areas for new renewable projects and demand management, ultimately saving customers money in power bills.
The Network Opportunity Maps identify areas where the grid is ‘constrained’ and not easily able to cope with new connections.
In addition to updated constraint layers on the maps, there are also layers showing how much new generation capacity can be connected in different locations. These layers will be regularly updated as businesses feed through new data.
Constraint map updates are generally released twice a year. These releases include refreshed datasets for all network businesses in the National Electricity Market for the period winter 2017 to summer 2026-2027. These updates are based on the December 2017 Distributor Annual Planning Reports and the July 2018 Transmission Annual Planning Reports.
Energy Networks Australia CEO, Andrew Dillon, said the maps provided important information that would ultimately save customers money by helping networks avoid spending as much on traditional poles and wires.
“The network opportunity maps are a valuable resource for measuring and tracking areas that would most benefit from renewable energy investment or alternative demand management programs,” Mr Dillon said.
“They are a great tool that identify how we can build an increasingly responsive grid for new energy services without high infrastructure spend being passed on to customers.
“This is part of a commitment by energy network businesses to further advance renewable energy’s integration into the grid and support value for money for energy customers across the country.”
Following consultation with the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) regarding reporting requirements, Energy Networks Australia has updated its automated data processing to the new data format. From 2019, businesses will work towards production processes that allow publishing within three months of data release.
The next data update will be in the first half of 2019 for distribution businesses and in the second half of 2019 for transmission businesses.
The New Generator Connection Capacity Maps are updated by each participating business on an ad hoc basis as required.
Funding for the ongoing production of the Network Opportunity Maps is provided by members of Energy Networks Australia.