Energy Networks Australia and ARENA workshop the electricity network of the future

Friday, 22 September, 2017

Energy Networks Australia and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) joined forces in Melbourne on Wednesday in a workshop to generate ideas that will help determine how we operate the electricity networks of the future.

ARENA’s A-Lab workshop series brings together industry participants from across the energy sector to troubleshoot and engineer ways to adapt the grid, reduce network costs and better integrate new technologies. In recognition of the continued rise of solar photovoltaic (PV) and the growth in batteries, Wednesday’s session looked at ‘grid orchestration’ for the networks of tomorrow.

Andrew Dillon, interim CEO for Energy Networks Australia, said the transition to a system with far more distributed generation and storage provides many opportunities for energy customers but also represents challenges that we need to act on now. He referred to the Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap, released by CSIRO and Energy Networks Australia, which “demonstrates how the successful integration of these new network services could see $16 billion in network infrastructure investment avoided by 2050”.

“Networks could buy grid support from customers with annual payments worth $1.1 billion within 10 years,” Dillon said.

“However, electricity distribution systems need to evolve in order to manage the technical challenges created by two-way energy flows.”

Participants in the A-Lab workshop explored the future design requirements of electricity distribution systems, as well as ways to encourage the alignment of industry projects to accelerate the network transformation. According to Dillon, the workshop brought together “a range of experts to explore innovative ways to ensure the grid remains reliable and secure into the future”.

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