Integrating alternative power sources into the electricity grid could generate more than $1 billion in benefits to customers, but the grid is currently unable to process the amount of “reverse electricity flows”, energy experts say.
A report by Energy Networks Australia and the Australian Energy Market Operator on Monday says Australia is leading the world in adopting resources such as solar panels and batteries.
But the Required Capabilities and Recommended Actions Report says a blueprint to integrate these assets safely and reliably at the lowest cost is required to capitalise on the investment.
Energy Networks Australia chief executive, Andrew Dillon says getting integration of the technologies right could deliver more than $1 billion in benefits to customers by 2030.
“Our electricity grid was not built to accommodate large amounts of power being generated back into it from multiple small sources – reverse electricity flows,” Mr Dillon said.
“Australia has more rooftop solar per capita than anywhere else in the world and this boom in solar and batteries creates both significant challenges and great opportunities for our local distribution networks.
“The recommendations in this report are designed to shape a future electricity grid that enables us to keep prices down, keep the lights on and to maximise our use of localised solar and storage.”
AEMO managing director Audrey Zibelman said it was a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” for Australia to move to a two-way system for electricity production and distribution.
“AEMO can see a future where consumers’ controllable devices will have a marketplace to supply not just energy, but system and network services that reduce overall energy costs and help maintain system security,” Ms Zibelman said.