Management of the domestic energy industry is undergoing a transformation prompted by…you, the consumer…with the growing uptake of distributed energy resources (DER).

Distributed Energy Resources (DER) can refer to a range of resources at the distribution level (poles and wires network on residential streets and resources behind consumers’ electricity meter), which produce electricity or actively manage consumer demand. DER provide new opportunities to manage and control the power system in different ways, particularly with advanced metering and remote options. Last week, the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) made a final rule, commencing 2019, that amends the National Electricity Rules to enable AEMO to establish a register of distributed energy resources (DER) in the National Electricity Market (NEM).

Improved data and information regarding the details of DER devices through the register will present a first step towards increasing system visibility. Currently, there are large penetrations of DER that are being installed 'behind the meter', which are invisible to the energy market operator. This lack of visibility affects AEMO's ability to quantify and manage the operational impacts of DER on the power system and presents obstacles to a holistic view of the energy market. 

Under the final rule, AEMO will establish, maintain and update a register of data for DER, including for newer technology such as small-scale battery storage systems and rooftop solar. Network service providers will collect DER information from customers and installers and provide this to AEMO. There will also be a data sharing framework to allow AEMO to share disaggregated data regarding devices in the DER register with network businesses in relation to their network areas. 

The introduction of a DER register enables AEMO and network service providers to plan and operate the power system more efficiently. It will also allow for increased accuracy in AEMO's load forecasting and modelling, improving the operation of the power system overall.

The final rule will commence operation on 1 December 2019, with AEMO to outline and publish the first DER register information guidelines by 1 June 2019.

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