The Western Australian Energy Transformation Strategy has been launched by State Energy Minister, Bill Johnston, offering more affordable and reliable energy to residents and businesses.

The electricity sector is experiencing a major transformation because of the rapid uptake of rooftop solar panels and battery storage systems, and increasing levels of large-scale renewable generators, such as wind and solar farms.

To maximise the environmental benefits and minimise the costs of this transition, the State Government will develop a Whole of System Plan, which will detail how the more coordinated power system of the future may look.

The Whole of System Plan will be complemented by a Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Roadmap, which will guide the integration of onsite generation (solar panels), battery storage and future technologies such as electric vehicles.

The DER Roadmap will be produced by the end of 2019 and the first Whole of System Plan in mid-2020.

These initiatives will be developed alongside changes to modernise the Wholesale Electricity Market to enhance power system security and enable new, largely renewable generators to access Western Power’s network.

Mr Johnston said, “Technological change in the energy sector is happening at a rapid pace worldwide.

“In Western Australia, we’re blessed with world-class solar and wind resources, abundant gas supply, a wealth of battery metals and a highly skilled workforce.

“We have a genuine opportunity to lead the way in establishing a cleaner, brighter and more resilient energy supply for decades to come.

“It’s clear that the generation mix will continue to change, so it’s important we have a whole of system approach to plan for the future.”

Industry response

Energy Networks Australia CEO, Andrew Dillon, welcomed the Western Australian Government’s announcement of an Energy Transformation Strategy.

“The power prices consumers pay are linked to the total system cost, so it makes sense to consider how the coordinated end-to-end power system of the future should look,” Mr Dillon said.

“It’s a positive step that a government is thinking beyond short-term rebates and starting to plan for how we manage an integrated low emissions electricity system.

“Energy Networks Australia will be launching the first of a set of guidelines for safe, consistent and efficient connection of solar, storage and battery devices to the grid.”

Distributed energy resources (DER), which include household solar panels and batteries, present challenges to electricity grids that were not designed to handle individual energy sources.

Energy Networks Australia and the Australian Energy Market Operator are working on the Open Energy Networks project, with the project investigating how best to integrate DER into Australia’s electricity grid.

“Open Energy Networks is developing options to improve the electricity system to ensure household solar and storage work in harmony with a grid that was never designed for two-way energy flows,” Mr Dillon said.

“As we move to greener grids, this work will help ensure reliable supply and lower household power bills for all customers.

“We look forward to seeing more detail about the WA Government’s planning program for DER integration.”

More information about the National Connection (DER) guidelines can be found here.

Charlotte Pordage is Editor of Utility magazine, a position she has held since November 2018. She joined the team as an Associate Editor in October 2017, after sharpening her writing and editing skills across a range of print and digital publications. Charlotte graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London, in 2011 with joint honours in English and Latin. When she's not putting together Australia's only dedicated utility magazine, she can usually be found riding her horse or curled up with a good book.

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