Energising Australia

Standards Australia

Friday, 27 March, 2020

Energising Australia

At the centre of our lives, no matter what we’re doing, is energy. The ongoing challenge to source new and renewable options is a blessing in disguise for standards development as it provides a strong demand for standards.

Australia is a unique space for a vast array of energy sources; coal, uranium, oil and gas have powered us for years, but as the demand for sustainable options increases, we must adapt and support industry innovation to fulfil these needs.

Part of this is smart energy, which, among other improvements, will help in supporting our local electricity networks to integrate and maximise the use of solar and energy storage. While this is exciting, there are challenges to overcome and support systems that need to be implemented to help smart energy reach its full potential. Standards are essential to this.

The demand for more energy can’t be ignored. Standards Australia continues to help these growing industries by providing a foundation to produce sustainable, safe and effective solutions. The way we source energy is changing, new technologies assure us of that and Australia now has opportunities to engage with and adopt many of these to support the global effort towards reducing carbon emissions and creating a healthier planet.

Ocean energy

Renewable energy is a top priority in the sector as the world works together to decarbonise and create a more sustainable future. In an exciting step forward, this year Standards Australia has seized the opportunity to enter the international conversation on renewable ocean energy by setting up a committee to discuss the implications and standardisation of this energy source.

The global appeal to address climate change is driving major growth in renewable sources of power generation and it is undeniable that water is one the world’s most valuable and attainable resources.

The facts about ocean energy include:

  • Energy is harnessed from waves, tides, currents and temperature differentials.
  • Australia’s industry is centred around wave and tidal energy.
  • Waves are created by wind passing over the surface of the ocean.
  • The natural movement of water within oceans can be transformed into electricity.
  • The ocean has more available energy per unit areas than on land.

Water covers 70% of earth’s surface but currently remains underutilised. Australia could present major benefits to the Australian economy, communities and energy sectors by investing in ocean energy initiatives such as harnessing available wave and tidal resources.

By engaging in the international discussions on this energy, Australia has a voice in yet another innovative and evolutionary development in the energy sector, and standards will play an important role in moving forward with this initiative. While we are just beginning the journey in this sector, we continue to provide important updates in other areas.

Network of standards

Standards exist across the energy sector, helping to guide industry and professionals from the traditional centralised grid system through to new energies such as hydrogen and ocean energy. These innovations imply today is no longer about simply delivering energy, and the broader opportunities, developments like hydrogen create, are infinite. In the electricity sector, grids are undergoing rapid change driven by the unprecedented demand for new use cases and flexibility. While energy remains central, now it is about information, communication and data, all of which are shifting the focus to a customer-oriented supply chain.

So how are standards supporting this?

Standards Australia is a participant on many international committees that look at smart energy standards to help determine terminology, public network electricity characteristics, grid integration and design and management of decentralised electricity supply systems. The network of standards already available to support the energy industries is large; however, as smart energy expands, standards and similar documents will become even more necessary. Standards Australia strives to be on the forefront of innovation and supporting our industries in their evolutions is one way to get the right standards to the right people.

What else is happening at Standards Australia?

New guidance has arrived for the battery storage sector with the publication of a standard late last year. The guidance sets out requirements around the safe installations of home batteries, including the use of non-combustible material when mounting the batteries onto a wall.

AS/NZS 5139:2019 Electrical installations –Safety of battery systems for use with power conversion equipment was a complex project, made possible by the support of industry representatives, government and regulators, consumer representatives and technical experts.

The standard has been developed for use by manufacturers, system integrators, designers and installers of battery energy storage systems. It intends to set out the requirements for the safety and installation of battery systems connected to power conversion equipment for the supply of AC and DC power.

Having these types of guidelines in place aims to reduce the risk of fire spreading should one start from within the battery. Setting out requirements that keep fire away from habitable rooms to protect consumers is an important aspect of this standard. Standards Australia is committed to working with stakeholders and industry to provide guidelines to help ensure the safety of communities across the country. The work on battery storage standards will continue. With this being a new standard, it is expected there will be further refinement as the industry evolves.

Feedback is always welcome and encouraged, email sem@standards.org.au.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/willyam

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