Renewables mapping tool to boost investment, add value to NEM | RenewEconomy

Renewables mapping tool to boost investment, add value to NEM

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UTS unveils first of ARENA-funded renewables mapping tools identifying best places on Australia’s NEM to invest in wind, solar and demand management.

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A new tool identifying the best places in Australia to install renewable energy and demand management has been released, with the launch of a series of interactive maps by the University of Technology in Sydney.

The online resource, developed by the UTS’s Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) with financial support from ARENA, aim to provide clear, consistent and timely information on where renewables alternatives to building new electricity network infrastructure would deliver the greatest economic benefit.


The first series of maps – the culmination of months of work by UTS and its project partners and $453,000 funding from ARENA – uses sample data from network service providers on network constraints, planned investment and the potential value of decentralised energy resources across the National Electricity Market (NEM).

By providing this information, the $1 million project aims to build the market for decentralised energy resources and reduce costs for all electricity consumers.

“Making this information freely and publicly available will help to build the market for decentralised energy resources, optimise grid infrastructure investment and thereby work to lower electricity bills,” ISF Research Director, Chris Dunstan said.

Federal environment minister, Greg Hunt – who today confused the renewable energy industry by announcing the appointment of a National Wind Commissioner – said it was critical Australia made the best, most efficient use of renewable energy.

“Investing in technology to map the most valuable locations to invest in renewables will drive further investment in renewables innovation,” he said.

“This government is delivering more renewable energy and lower electricity bills. This important work by UTS, supported by the Australian government through ARENA, is a step towards reducing peak electricity demand and showing where renewables can add the most value.”

Acting ARENA CEO Ian Kay said the maps could encourage increased renewable energy investment by showing where renewables can add the most value in the NEM.

“The inclusion of the maps on the AREMI platform will complement other energy resource and infrastructure datasets. This is a clear demonstration of how our support facilitates knowledge sharing to eliminate barriers and accelerate the uptake of renewable energy,” Kay said.

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  1. joono 5 years ago

    Pity it isn’t working today

  2. Chris Drongers 5 years ago

    Map works for me. Interesting that in most of Brisbane and Sydney there is multi-megawatts of available substation capacity in most urban areas. Melbourne is much more patchy with substations in many areas at capacity. Does this indicate that rooftop PV is less constrained in the urban areas than it might be if substations were nearing capacity. Or does the bi-directional flow from power station to house/shop and house/shop to substation so complicate matters that this simple conclusion cannot be drawn?

    • taiyoo 5 years ago

      The DNSP’s know exactly how much PV is connected to each substation. You would hope they provided this data to the researchers as it would have made that mapping exercise vastly more accurate.
      Possibly the privatisation of Victoria’s networks has resulted in less “gold-plating” (and/or crucial maintenance and upgrades) so their assets have less capacity than NSW or QLD?
      Interestingly, Western Power made their own even more detailed version of this resource publicly available many years ago. I mentioned this to some NSW DNSP’s in 2013 and they were shocked that WP would share this information, particularly with the “enemy”, PV installers, muttering about the potential for terrorist attacks (pardon the acronyms and name dropping).

  3. Les Johnston 5 years ago

    Found the tool works and it shows that peak day electricity demand has arrived in the Balmain peninsular. Action now needed for localised supply. Maybe subsidies for local PVs would be much cheaper than transmission lines and substations!

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