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Interactive maps aimed at developing Australian distributed energy

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has launched a new interactive map technology that is aimed at identifying new potential for distributed energy resourcesà‚ (DERs).

The maps are specifically aimed at supporting decentralised usage of DERs, includingà‚ battery storage, renewable energy and smart demand management.
Theà‚ Network Opportunity Maps, a collaboration between research agencies, government and industry, aims to progress localised energy solutions across the country. The geo-spatial mapping goes hand in hand with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s (ARENA) three-year demand response trial projects, all with an aim to reduce network costs and improve grid reliability.

While Australia’s solar sector has been growing from strength to strength, there had been concern about grid stability due to a reduction in conventional power resources. The grid supported benefits of distributed generation are expected to improve overall resilience.

The maps show up areas of emerging constraint in the grid, which then become opportunities for businesses and residential consumers at these locations to benefit from using their own energy sources to support the network and gain rewards in the process.

The new Maps include the latest network investment and load forecast data. They also show how much additional generation, such as new solar and wind farms, can be connected in each zone.

The maps were the result of a three-year research project by the Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) at UTS in collaboration with Energy Networks Australia. The maps were developed with support from ARENA, the NSW Government, CSIRO and industry partners including Ergon Energy, AusNet Services, Powerlink, ElectraNet and Transgrid. Energy Networks Australia will be responsible for ongoing management of the Maps.

Energy Networks Australia interim CEO, Andrew Dillon, said: “Energy Networks are excited about the potential for these maps to help build a smarter and more reliable grid, enabling alignmentà‚