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The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has launched its Distributed Energy Resources (DER) register – the first database of its kind in Australia.

Distributed energy resources are consumer-owned devices that can generate (rooftop solar) or store electricity (batteries, electric vehicles), or have ‘smart’ capabilities to actively manage energy usage (air conditioners, pool pumps, etc).

AEMO Executive General Manager, Emerging Markets and Services, Violette Mouchaileh, said that the register comes at a time when Australia’s energy ecosystem is rapidly transforming, enabling DER to play a fundamental role in maintaining a safe, reliable, secure and affordable energy moving forward.

“More and more Australians are investing in distributed energy devices, creating an opportunity to develop a world-leading system that harnesses electricity and energy-related services from DER in homes throughout Australia,” Ms Mouchaileh said.

To ensure this can happen, AEMO needs to understand the location and operational capability of these generation and storage devices that are connected to the grid.

“With increased knowledge of DER, AEMO can better manage the grid and ensure that consumer-led energy investments support energy system reliability and security, while maximising value for Australia’s energy consumers,” Ms Mouchaileh said.

In late 2018, the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) amended the National Electricity Rules enabling AEMO to establish a DER Register to improve visibility and access to essential device information across Australia.

Since then, AEMO has worked with stakeholders across the electricity sector, including network service providers (NSP) and industry groups, to design the DER Register, agree on DER data sets and data collection processes.

With comprehensive DER data, the register will enable AEMO to:

  • Forecast, plan and operate the grid more efficiently, ensuring the system and market can deliver energy at an efficient price for all customers
  • Be more prepared for a major outage or disruption in the system by using DER assets to support the grid during these events
  • Prepare the grid for major innovations with DER, such as virtual power plants, and enabling customers to consider and participate in new markets with their DER
  • Allow networks to make better informed decisions about network investment options in the future as demand changes and DER increases

Following the DER register’s launch, electricity distribution networks will require that more data is collected for small generators all across the eastern and southern states. This data will have to be provided to AEMO’s DER Register within 20 days of the system commissioning or activation.

This information will be collected as a part of current grid connection approval processes managed by NSPs and installers either via NSP systems or smart phone applications.

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