Digital platform to harness the value of home solar, batteries, electric cars

A digital platform for household solar energy, electric cars and batteries to communicate across the electricity grid could cut power bills by $1500.

Millions of households with rooftop solar could power the electricity grid, as well as their appliances and electric cars, with new digital technology.

While a boon for cash-strapped households, widely distributed consumer energy assets running on free solar power are a safety challenge for a creaking power grid trying to cope with the excess.

Assistant Minister for Climate Change and Energy Jenny McAllister announced work would begin on a new data exchange that would become “the standard railway gauge of solar and batteries”.

“As Australians adopt more technology like batteries, EVs and smart appliances, being able to interact easily with the grid will only become more important,” she told the Smart Energy Consumer Summit in Melbourne.

Rooftop solar was already the second-largest source of capacity in the national electricity system and making the most of it meant energy could be more reliable and more affordable for everyone, Senator McAllister said.

Clean Energy Council policy director Con Hristodoulidis said integrating the rapid uptake of rooftop solar and behind-the-meter batteries would benefit all energy users.

“Orchestrating more of these technologies into the grid will deliver all Australian energy customers greater bill savings of up to $1500 per annum,” he said.

Supported by a $1.2 million grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and AusNet will design a data exchange for solar and batteries to communicate with each other.

The agency is also investing $336,000 in GridWise Energy Solutions as part of an $800,000 software project that will make it easier for renewable energy to be connected to the grid.

The funding is a down-payment on a common digital platform for solar, batteries and other consumer energy resources that could unlock up to $6 billion in benefits over the next 20 years, according to Deloitte Access Economics.

The market operator has forecast customer energy resources in the national network could reach 86 gigawatts of rooftop solar and 27GW of flexible demand by 2050.

But without adequate digital infrastructure, these resources risk being poorly integrated and under-utilised, denying consumers and the electricity grid their full value, ARENA warned.

Work on the data exchange is already underway, with the first workshops with industry scheduled for June.

AAP

Author
Marion Rae
AAP
June 4, 2024
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