Following the recent release of the Draft Report of an Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) review, stand-alone power systems are set to go mainstream and become a much more familiar part of the way we power communities in the coming decade.
For the last three years, here at Perdaman Advanced Energy we have argued that electricity distribution networks should be allowed to supply customers using microgrids and stand-alone power systems in places where that would be cheaper, safer and more reliable. There are billions of dollars in potential savings for customers and networks if stand-alone systems are allowed to compete with ‘poles and wires’.
We are not alone in this – The Clean Energy Council (CEC) supports the AEMC’s review that:
- the National Electricity Law and Rules be amended to remove existing barriers to distribution network service providers (DNSPs) providing SAPS as a regulated service,
- SAPS customers should receive reliability protections equivalent to grid-connected customers,
- new retail price protections will be required if SAPS customers cannot access retail competition,
- consumer protections for SAPS customers should be equivalent to those for grid-connected customers and jurisdictional consumer protections should be extended to them,
- a new set of minimum SAPS project evaluation requirements should be developed to support the competitive testing of potential SAPS solutions for projects that are not subject to the regulatory investment test for distribution (RIT-D),
- DNSPs will not be required to obtain customers’ explicit consent and will be required to undertake a comprehensive program of information provision and engagement with affected
• the proposed national framework for SAPS should allow jurisdictions to opt-in
Consultation on the regulatory reforms will continue through 2019. The new system is not expected to come into effect until 2020 at the earliest and will require changes to the National Electricity Law and to state and territory regulations.
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