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A distributed energy resources (DER) register has been established by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) for the South West Interconnected System (SWIS) in Western Australia. 

DERs are consumer-owned devices that can generate or store electricity – rooftop solar, batteries and electric vehicles for example – or devices that have ‘smart’ capabilities to actively manage energy usage (air conditioners, pool pumps etc).

Following the release of the DER Roadmap by the WA Government’s Energy Transformation Taskforce in 2020, the WA DER Register is one of the first roadmap activities to be implemented by AEMO to support the more effective integration of DER into the Wholesale Energy Market (WEM) and the SWIS.  

As the independent market operator, AEMO is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the SWIS and WEM, including balancing supply and demand to maintain the security of the system for all customers in the south west of WA.

AEMO’s WA Executive General Manager, Cameron Parrotte, said that the register provides an important step forward to meet the challenges and opportunities with deep penetration of DER devices.

“Western Australians are leading the world at rooftop solar uptake, generating nearly 45 per cent of our energy needs at times,” Mr Parrotte said.

“With continued DER investment forecast, it’s critical to understand the operational capability of these generation and storage devices.

“With thorough knowledge of DER, we can ensure that consumer-led energy investments also support energy system reliability and security and, at the same time, maximise value for WA’s energy consumers.”

The register will provide improved visibility and data of WA DER for AEMO to use in its forecasting and operational functions.

By gathering a comprehensive data set for DER characteristics, the WA DER Register is a cornerstone action for many of the DER Roadmap initiatives, particularly enabling: 

  • AEMO to forecast, plan and operate the power system more efficiently, ensuring the system and market can deliver energy at an efficient price for all customers
  • AEMO to understand how DER can be utilised to respond to major outage or disruption in the system and network
  • Major innovations with DER in WA, such as virtual power plants, and enabling customers to consider and participate in new markets with their DER
  • Allow the SWIS network operator to make better informed decisions about network investment options in the future as demand changes and DER in WA increases
  • Allow other industry players to better understand DER to factor into their decision-making

AEMO has worked with Western Power and the WA Government to design and implement the WA DER Register, leveraging learnings from AEMO’s National Electricity Market (NEM) DER Register, which was launched in 2020.

AEMO is also expanding its public reporting dashboard to include WA-specific DER data, which will be launched in the coming weeks and refined over time as the DER Roadmap is delivered.

For more information on AEMO’s WA DER Program, click here.

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