A new platform will compile data in real time to allow electricity distributors to better manage energy from behind-the-meter assets.
Queensland energy data specialists luceo Energy are developing software to help electricity distributors manage consumer-owned devices across low voltage networks.
The project aims to gather the data needed to assess how much consumer-owned energy can safely be connected to the electricity grid without additional investment in infrastructure, rather than the current practice of relying on static and conservative export limits.
ARENA has announced $2.6 million in funding towards the $5.7 million project, known as SHIELD (Synchronising Heterogeneous Information to Evaluate Limits for DNSPs), which will develop a proof-of-concept platform that draws data from networks, project partners and third parties.
Together with the University of Queensland, GridQube Pty Ltd, Essential Energy, Ergon Energy and Energex, luceo will compile data from network infrastructure, smart meters and smart consumer-owned energy assets such as batteries and inverters.
luceo Energy CEO Patrick Matweew said they see a need for both smart network data and other real time data sources to ensure safe and secure operation of distribution networks with very high penetrations of DER and EVs.
“While everyone is looking to smart meters as the solution to the network data issue, the reality is, that outside of Victoria, smart meter penetration is still low while rooftop solar gets installed at record pace,” Patrick Matweew said.
“Current smart meters are often optimised for billing purposes only and getting access to smart meter data is often difficult,” he said.
Paul Liddell, luceo Energy’s Chief Technology Officer said: “This project will demonstrate the value that can be derived from diverse data sources. We will look to talk to PV inverter manufacturers, smart home solutions vendors and a variety of other service providers as part of this project and invite them to collaborate with us.”
The luceo Energy data toolkit will initially be trialled in Queensland and New South Wales.
Grappling with the growth of solar
Network operators are struggling to accommodate the growth of rooftop solar, which Australians are installing at world-leading rates.
As more energy flows from solar homes into the grid, not just in one direction from large centralised power stations, network operators are looking for new ways to maintain the stability of the network and maximise the value of individual consumer-owned assets like rooftop solar and home batteries.
ARENA is supporting efforts to integrate the growing volume of energy generated behind-the-meter, recently announcing funding for projects like AEMO’s trial of a new distributed energy marketplace, UPowr’s work to grow battery orchestration programs and UNSW research into the role DER can play during contingency events.
ARENA CEO Darren Miller said there is a growing industry consensus that a lack of reliable, low voltage network data is limiting DER’s true value for both customers and networks.
“It is 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,” Mr 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, ultimately benefiting all key stakeholders from DNSPs, regulators and ultimately the customer,” he said.