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The Network Opportunity Mapping project is developing free, annually updated, online maps of network constraints, planned investment and the potential value of decentralised energy resources in networks across the Australian National Electricity Market (NEM).
These maps will allow distribution and transmission network service providers (NSPs), their customers, and proponents of non-network alternatives to develop a common understanding of the potential value of reducing peak electricity demand in different parts of the network.
The project fills a fundamental information gap by providing clear, consistent and timely information on network opportunities and constraints to renewable energy and demand management (DM) project proponents across jurisdictions.
Maps presenting sample data provided by electricity network service providers across the NEM are now available online.
Download supporting information
The Network Opportunity Mapping project aims to present information to Renewable Energy and Demand Management providers in a consistent and easily accessible format that is not currently available. The final version of the maps (scheduled for 2017) will identify where it offers the best value to invest in renewable energy and demand management technologies and services within the electricity grid. By providing this information, the project aims to build the market for these decentralised energy resources and reduce costs for all consumers.
The three-year project is led by the Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) at the University of Technology Sydney. The mapping data is hosted on the exciting new Australian Renewable Energy Mapping Infrastructure (AREMI) platform which is being developed with funding support from ARENA, and managed by digital innovation group, Data61. The inclusion of the maps on the AREMI platform will nicely complement other energy resource and infrastructure datasets.
Decentralised energy refers to distributed generation and storage, energy efficiency and peak demand management. The absence of clear, consistent and easily accessible data about network constraints, costs and potentially avoidable investment has been a major obstacle to the development of decentralised energy projects in Australia. Consequently, insufficient decentralised energy has been deployed relative to traditional network investment, which has contributed to higher electricity bills.
While NSPs annually report capacity and constraint data, this information is often difficult to interpret for those without specialised skills, or is missing key pieces of information. This information is produced in different formats across the NEM and often lacks sufficient geographical and network support value data to be useful from a DE proponent’s perspective.
The project uses the Dynamic Avoidable Network Cost Evaluation (DANCE) model developed by ISF as part of the Intelligent Grid research program (see Project 4). ISF has applied the DANCE model for mapping Decentralised Energy for Victoria and for rural areas of the NEM suitable for concentrating solar power (www.breakingthesolargridlock.net). These previous DANCE model versions involved highly time intensive manual processes, and the information became quickly out of date. Producing updates in the same manner would be inefficient and expensive.
This project streamlines the network opportunity mapping process. ISF is working with NSPs across the NEM to develop a clear, standardised data protocol to populate an annually updated, publicly available mapping resource.
The three-year project will allow time to engage with NSPs and regulators and work through methodological considerations. The proposed program involves six key tasks:
- Consultation with all NSPs to refine the methodology, inputs and outputs
- Development of a robust data protocol
- Model and platform development
- Mapping iterations
- Broader stakeholder engagement, including policy makers, regulators, decentralised energy proponents
- Identifying a host organisation for annual updates
The key outcomes of the project are:
• Nationally consistent, annually updated and publicly accessible, online maps of network constraints and potentially avoidable investment in electricity transmission and distribution networks.
• Facilitation of more rapid and efficient development of renewable energy and other decentralised energy resources.
• Assist in lowering electricity costs, raising energy productivity, lifting network capital efficiency and developing markets for decentralised energy.
New maps identify opportunities for renewable energy investment, 8 October 2015
Government invests in maps of electricity grid to drive renewables investment (Minister for the Environment, media releases) 8 October 2015
- Mapping project reveals renewable opportunities, Utility magazine
- Australia invests in interactive maps of electricity grid, Enterpriseinnovation.net, 13 October 2015
- Government maps out renewable energy investment opportunities, Business Environment News, 12 October 2015
- Renewables mapping tool to boost investment, add value to NEM, Renew Economy, 9 October 2015
- New Maps To Help Guide Australian Renewables Investment, Energy Matters, 9 October 2015
- The map which shows batteries are a waste of time in NSW and QLD, Business Spectator, 9 October 2015
- To-the-point: Australia rolls out renewables investment roadmap, SeeNews Renewables, 8 October 2015
- Electricity mapping tool to boost renewable, stop gold-plating, Renew Economy, 5 November 2014
- Grid maps to 'boost renewables': ARENA, Climate Spectator, 17 October 2014.
If you are interested in the Network Opportunity Mapping project we are keen to hear from you.
To subscribe to the project newsletter mailing list to receive updates about the project and be first to know about public map releases, click here.
If you would like to provide further in-depth feedback on the sample maps, please contact us.
To find out more about the project:
Alison Atherton, E: Alison.Atherton@uts.edu.au, T: +61 29514 4909