A new study will tackle the challenge of increasing the penetration of distributed energy resources, like solar and battery storage in low voltage networks.
Queensland based energy data firm Luceo Energy will develop a new data collection platform to support distribution network operators to measure and assess the performance of energy systems installed in low voltage networks.
Distribution networks, which make up the poles and wires that connect households and businesses to the wider grid, have faced growing challenges with managing high penetrations of behind the meter energy resources like solar and storage, although studies have also shown that voltage issues already exist and are not limited to solar.
South Australia has already seen energy system operators step in to turn off some rooftop solar systems during periods of high output, when the ability to send excess power to other parts of the grid has been constrained.
At high penetrations, variable output from solar and battery systems can push local network towards technical limits, as well as impacting voltage and frequency. By providing greater visibility of such systems, the platform to be developed by Luceo Energy is intended to help network companies optimise the performance of both distributed energy resources and networks to boost penetration.
Luceo Energy will undertake the $5.7 million project with the support of a $2.6 million grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).
ARENA CEO Darren Miller said he hoped the project would be able to unlock the ability to gather crucial data on the behaviour and performance of distributed energy resources.
“There is growing recognition that the lack of reliable, low voltage network data is limiting DER’s true value for both customers and networks. It is, however, incredibly difficult to acquire, sort and integrate multiple data sets into a single source. Tackling this complex and challenging task is what makes Luceo Energy’s project so innovative,” Miller said.
“The project could increase the value delivered by renewables by determining a ‘sweet spot’ between investment in data monitoring and visibility of DER to ensure that the right level of investment is applied, benefiting all key stakeholders including DNSPs, regulators and ultimately customers.”
Through the project, Luceo Energy will develop a proof-of-concept platform to draw together and integrate data from a range of sources, including smart meter data, battery and inverter data, network data and information from communications systems.
Once developed, the platform will be trialled by a number of Queensland and New South Wales distribution network operators, including Essential Energy, Ergon Energy and Energex.