AEMO is teaming up with AusNet Services and Mondo to undertake a world-first trial to develop a two-way market for distributed energy resources (DER).

The ARENA-funded trial would allow consumers to benefit from their DER participating in the National Electricity Market (NEM).

Project Energy Demand and Generation Exchange (EDGE) will run an off-market platform for eligible customers in north-east Victoria to trade electricity and grid services via an aggregator or Virtual Power Plant (VPP) operator from their DER, such as rooftop solar and batteries, similar to large-scale participants in the NEM.

AEMO’s Principal Analyst Member Services, Matt Armitage, said, “Project EDGE aims to build understanding of and inform the most efficient and sustainable way to integrate DER into the electricity system and markets, allowing all consumers to benefit from a future with high levels of DER.”

Since inception of the project in November 2020, the partners have been working together to engage heavily with industry to define the research questions Project EDGE will seek to answer and shape the project’s DER Marketplace design.   

With phase 1 of the project completed, AEMO has published a ‘lessons learned’ report on behalf of the project partners covering progress to date.

The report covers learnings by the project partners such as those relating to the approach adopted by the partners to promote collaborative engagement and project design, interactions with complementary projects and technology development. 

The project partners have established EDGE-specific stakeholder forums relevant to their respective roles.

The forums meet regularly to provide a collaborative framework which allows for the sharing of project status, community and industry perspectives relevant to the trial.

They will also contribute purposeful insights for the design of future two-sided electricity markets and other related areas of work including the Energy Security Board’s (ESB’s) Post 2025 electricity market design initiatives.

Importantly, the stakeholder forums provide opportunities for representatives from community, industry, and government to provide feedback into the design of the EDGE wholesale market and local network services, the data exchange requirements, and the roles and responsibilities of each of the actors (AEMO, DNSP/DSO, aggregator).

Mr Armitage said, “A key activity during Phase 1 of the project has been the collaborative high-level functional design of the Project EDGE DER marketplace between AEMO, AusNet Services, and Mondo.

“Project EDGE provides an opportunity to further develop and test a hybrid DER market model – in which AEMO and the DNSP/DSO such as AusNet Services will collaborate to share responsibilities – as a pragmatic solution for market design in a high DER future.

“The Project is building out the next layers of detail for a practical demonstration of this framework, which should provide valuable evidence for future market design.”

Head of Emerging Markets at AusNet Services, John Theunissen, said, “Project EDGE is rapidly evolving into a flagship trial. 

“We have the potential to make a significant contribution towards the future direction of the electricity market.

“The first ‘lessons learned’ report provides useful insights into the unique, highly collaborative, and transparent approach the EDGE program partners have adopted to deliver the best outcomes for community and industry.”

AEMO is progressing the development of the EDGE marketplace with high-level design requirements established; AusNet Services similarly is progressing the build of the DSO platform that will integrate with the EDGE marketplace. Mondo as the principal aggregator on the trial has commenced work on enhancing their UBI aggregation platform and behind the meter (BTM) technology to meet EDGE requirements.

The project is focusing on developing out the roles and responsibilities of market participants including distributed network service providers (DNSPs), such as AusNet Services, and aggregators, such as Mondo, that engage in power system markets on consumers’ behalf.  Over time the project aims to engage with additional aggregators.

Project EDGE has moved into Phase 2, which primarily focuses on establishing the marketplace minimum viable product (MVP) in preparation for DER to commence delivering wholesale and local network services and required data exchange infrastructure.

The project is on track for the planned commencement of off-line trials in November 2021 followed by operational trials in May 2022.

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