A new online electricity network mapping tool is currently being developed via a partnership between the UTS’s Institute for Sustainable Futures, Ergon Energy, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, TransGrid, the New South Wales Department of Trade and Investment, and ElectraNet.
This “series of detailed online network opportunity maps” is being developed with the intention of boosting the deployment speed of renewables in Australia. As well as potentially aiding in the stopping of more network “gold plating” — that is to say, actions that lead to unnecessarily high electricity prices.
These maps will be used by service providers, and other stakeholders as well, as a means of navigating the changeable environment of the national electricity market.
Once completed, these maps will reportedly be publicly available, and updated on an annual basis — highlighting present “opportunities for demand management and renewable energy projects to address areas of network capacity constraint.”
The developers are aiming for this function to help limit potentially unnecessary investment into transmission and distribution networks.
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The project’s developers say that the mapping tool will fill a “fundamental information gap” by providing clear, consistent and timely information on network opportunities and constraints to renewable energy and demand management (DM) project proponents.
“The absence of clear, easily accessible data about network constraints, costs and potentially avoidable investment has been a major obstacle to the development of decentralised energy projects in Australia,” the project description says. “Consequently, distributed energy (including local generation and storage, energy efficiency and peak demand management) has not been optimally deployed in relation to network capacity and constraints.
This has, according to the developers, resulted in over-investment in network infrastructure, and corresponding rises electricity prices.
“These maps have the potential to make a major contribution to the development of the renewable energy and demand management markets in Australia, while helping network service providers remove obstacles to a lower-cost future and the development of renewable, distributed energy and demand management projects,” stated UTS and ARENA in their recent press statement.
Image Credit: Dance Network Opportunity Maps