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Meeting the information needs of a new era of decentralised energy
The Institute for Sustainable Futures has developed free online maps of Australia’s electricity network. The Network Opportunity Maps help to inform the market about locations where investment in demand management and renewable energy may reduce the need to invest in poles and wires assets, supporting the uptake of local sustainable energy options, and reduce costs for all consumers.
The first comprehensive versions of the Network Opportunity Maps, released on 27th July 2016, include complete geographic datasets for all network businesses in the Australian National Electricity Market (NEM). These update and improve on the Sample Maps released in 2015.
The complete versions of the maps include new information that was not available in the 2015 sample maps:
- Distribution network region coverage for South Australia
- More accurate region coverage for Endeavour and Essential Energy (NSW)
- Capacity and forecast data for all SP Ausnet zones (eastern Victoria)
- Capacity implications of the latest revision of electricity demand forecasts (as at Annual Planning Reports of December 2015 for distribution and July 2015 for Transmission)
- More and visually distinguishable replacement investments in addition to augmentations.
Download supporting information
In order for a robust market for demand management or distributed energy to develop in areas where it provides network benefit, it requires clear, consistent and easily accessible data about network constraints, costs and potentially avoidable investments. Without this access to information the market is unable to invest in a timely cost effective manner to support a reduction in traditional network investment.
While electricity network businesses 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 decentralised energy project 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. ISF has previously 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).
ISF has developed a streamlined process to collect data provided by the electricity network businesses annually, which is fed into the DANCE model to produce the Network Opportunity Maps on the Australian Renewable Energy Mapping Infrastructure (AREMI) platform.
The maps identify and provide information on areas of network constraint, planned investment and the potential value of decentralised energy resources in networks across the NEM. They:
- Identify the most valuable locations to invest in renewable energy and demand management across the grid
- Improve the transparency and accessibility of information about development of the electricity grid in a consistent and easily accessible format that was not previously available
- Help the community and the emerging market of new energy service providers to better evaluate opportunities to improve the operation of the grid
- Help to build the market for demand management
- Prepare network businesses and market participants for a new collaborative era of grid management, involving many third party service providers
- Help to deliver better value and benefits to all electricity consumers
Three year project: 2014-2017
Partners: The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) provides funding support. The project receives additional funding from NSW Department of Industry, Ergon Energy and UTS and is supported by ElectraNet, TransGrid and Energy Networks Association (ENA).
Data Providers: The maps have been developed in collaboration with all transmission and distribution network businesses in the National Electricity Market, who have generously committed their time and expertise to provide data and refine the maps.
Current hosts: The mapping data is currently hosted on the AREMI platform by Geoscience Australia, which is being developed with funding support from ARENA, and managed by CSIRO’s digital innovation group, Data61.
Future hosts: We’re in discussions with relevant industry agencies about the continuation of the maps beyond the end of the project. The aim is that full maps will be updated annually by a host organisation, from 2017 onwards.
National renewable energy map more valuable than ever, (ARENA media release) 27 July 2016
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