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South Australia New Regulations For Emerging Solar Control

Strong investment in renewables is forecast to continue with Australia projected to deploy an additional 24 GW of rooftop solar by 2030, tripling the nation’s small-scale solar generating capacity over the decade rooftop-solar-drives-Australia-to-renewable-energy-record.  This increasing solar generation creates demand and supply challenges to power networks.  For example, demand increase at peak times while low DER generation happens or low demand due to high solar generation. In addition, environmental factors influence generation. All these factors cause difficulties in managing power systems and networks.

AEMO has been taking many measures to accommodate this increase in Distributed Energy Resources securely, like publishing new performance capacity requirements for inverters AS/NZS 4777.2:2020, creating demand response programs via smart appliances, etc.

The smarter home initiative is one of these measurements. From 28 September 2020, all-new embedded generation installations, upgrades, and revisions in South Australia must comply with the new specifications outlined in the State Government’s Smarter Homes amendments, and a ‘Relevant Agent’ must be appointed. The Relevant Agent framework has been created to allow the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and State Government to reduce the risk of higher blackouts, following rare special conditions, by monitoring and managing safe solar PV generation levels.  The first successful trial has been completed this weekend with great achievement.

As a Relevant Agent, inavitas will initiate control of the embedded generator’s output in emergency conditions, directed by the SA Power Network or AEMO.

Relevant Agents are required to disconnect/reconnect solar production in line with instructions from SA Power Networks within a minimum of 15 minutes of receiving instructions (or at a time specified in the instructions).

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AEMO may send instructions to SA Power Networks via ElectraNet to maintain or restore power system security under clause 4.8.9 of the National Electricity Rules.

SA Power Networks will issue instructions to Relevant Agents to disconnect/reconnect solar generation in response to instructions from AEMO to ensure power system security.

A new technical standard demands that systems are capable of being remotely disconnected and reconnected by an agent registered with the Technical Regulator.

The new regulations are listed on the South Australia Department of Energy and Mining website and include:

  • Voltage ride-through standards for generating systems connected via an inverter- A new technical standard for generating systems connected via low voltage power inverters to the South Australian distribution network requires that they meet ride-through standards as demonstrated by testing standards in AS/NZS4777.2 and any applicable AEMO testing standard.
  • Remote disconnection and reconnection requirements- A new technical standard requires that prescribed generating systems connecting to the South Australian distribution network can be remotely disconnected and reconnected by an agent registered with the Technical Regulator.
  • Dynamic export level requirements- A pair of new technical standards will require that prescribed generating systems connecting to the South Australian distribution network can be export-limited, and export limits are updated remotely.
  • Smarter meter requirements-A new technical standard for smart meters is in effect as of 28 September 2020 to measure and manage generation and controlled load separately.
  • Tariffs to incentivise energy use in low demand periods: A new requirement applies to electricity retailers operating in South Australia to have a standing offer that includes a tariff structure that incentivises electricity use in low demand periods.

The fast-moving structure of Australia’s energy market, which we have been in for three years, enables us to understand the details of Australia’s journey in the digital transformation of energy and produce new technology and solutions quickly.  We are happy to contribute and witness this tremendous transformation.  For further information, please contact us. inavitas energy management solutions will serve you to comply with those new requirements.