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For over a decade, South Australians have been the world’s earliest and most enthusiastic adopters of distributed energy resources, such as rooftop solar.

To the Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO’s) knowledge, South Australia is the first gigawatt scale power system in the world to approach zero operational demand due to such high proportions of demand met by distributed energy resources.

A new technical report from AEMO identifies two key challenges associated with the high proportion of rooftop solar:

  1. Ensuring rooftop solar operates during disturbances
    There is now considerable evidence that many of the inverters which manage the power generated by solar panels will disconnect in response to voltage disturbances. AEMO has found that when South Australia is operating as an island, it is now impossible to maintain the frequency operating standard for certain credible fault events if they cause rooftop solar disconnections.
  2. Minimum demand when operating separate from the National Electricity Market
    South Australia has already experienced operational demand as low as 458 MW and this is expected to reduce further by spring 2020. If South Australia is separated from the National Electricity Market, there needs to be sufficient demand and the right combination of power generation to provide enough system security services to keep the system secure.

We are committed to the orderly transition to net-100 per cent renewable energy. This requires the right mix of interconnection, storage, generation and smart technology to balance supply and demand.

South Australians continue to show their commitment to this goal through the adoption of rooftop solar and storage. Technology change is occurring, and the appliances South Australians buy are getting smarter. Smart meters are also being rolled out to households in South Australia in accordance with rules made by the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC).

Proposed regulatory changes

The proposed package of regulatory changes covered in the five consultation papers seek to implement new technical standards to support the orderly transition and incentive structures for customers to be rewarded for managing their energy use in an efficient manner.

  1. Consultation on the proposed remote disconnection and reconnection requirements for distributed solar generating plants in South Australia

    A proposed new technical standard which will require solar generating systems connecting to the South Australian distribution network are capable of being remotely disconnected and reconnected by an agent registered with the Technical Regulator. This will contribute to increasing the ability of the distribution network to host distributed energy resources and secure operation of the power system.
    Read the consultation paper (PDF 337.0 KB)

  1. Consultation on the proposed export limit requirements for distributed solar generating systems in South Australia

    A proposed new technical standard which will require that solar generating systems connecting to the South Australian distribution network are capable of being export limited and for export limits to be updated remotely. This will contribute to increasing the ability of the distribution network to host distributed energy resources by avoiding scenarios where the energy exported may exceed the capacity of the local network, or where there is insufficient demand for that energy in other parts of South Australia.
    Read the consultation paper (PDF 344.4 KB)

  2. Consultation on the proposed new low voltage ride-through requirements for smart inverters in South Australia

    A proposed new technical standard for low voltage power inverters connected to the South Australian distribution network will require that they meet ride-through standards as demonstrated by testing in accordance with testing standards in AS/NZS4777.2 and any applicable AEMO testing standard. This will contribute to ensuring new and replacement inverter connected distributed energy resources can ride through power system disturbances.
    Read the consultation paper (PDF 346.1 KB)

  1. Consultation on the proposed smart meter minimum technical standards in South Australia

    A proposed new technical standard for smart meters will require that they must have a minimum of two elements, with a contactor in each element, and must be wired in accordance with any wiring guidelines issued by the Technical Regulator. This will allow load and generation to be separately measured through the elements and controlled using the contactors.
    Read the consultation paper (PDF 387.6 KB)

  2. Consultation on proposed tariffs to incentivise energy use in low demand periods in South Australia
    A proposed new requirement on retailers operating in South Australia to provide standing offer tariff structures to customers with smart meters which incentivise electricity use in low demand periods. This will ensure retailers make offers which reward customers for using electricity in low demand periods. Please note an updated version of this paper has been provided to reflect SAPN's final approved tariffs.
    Read the consultation paper (PDF 351.1 KB)

DEM has also released a consultation paper (PDF 1.3 MB) on the proposed South Australian Government Retailer Energy Productivity Scheme (REPS). The REPS is proposed to replace the current Retailer Energy Efficiency Scheme (REES) from 1 January 2021. The REPS has been designed to support energy demand management and demand response activities, as well as energy efficiency activities in homes and businesses.

Short Duration Undervoltage Disturbance Ride-Through Test Procedure

On 28 July 2020, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) published the Short Duration Undervoltage Ride-Through (VDRT) Test Procedure. Further information can be found on the AEMO website.

Virtual Q&A sessions

Stakeholders are invited to register to receive an invitation to one or more of the virtual questions and answer sessions, which will be scheduled between 29 June - 3 July 2020, by emailing ETRConsultations@sa.gov.au

  • Q&A Distributed Solar Generating Plant Technical Standards
  • Q&A Low Voltage Power Inverters Technical Standards
  • Q&A Smart Meter Minimum Technical Standards
  • Q&A Standing Offer Tariff Structures

Submissions

Stakeholders are invited to provide a written submission on these proposals by emailing ETRConsultations@sa.gov.au
Stakeholders may respond to one or more of the consultation papers in their written submission.

Written submission must be received by 5PM (ACST) on 10 July 2020.