Release of WA's Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Roadmap

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The WA government has released its Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Roadmap – the first step in its plan to better integrate DER into the power system. The first of its kind in Australia, the Roadmap identifies 36 actions to ensure future integration of DER and sets out a plan to implement these actions during the next five years. 

DER are small-scale devices that use, generate or store electricity, such as rooftop solar systems, batteries, electric vehicles, microgrids and technology to manage demand. These devices are connected to the distribution system (in south-west WA, the SWIS), but are largely decentralised. 

While there are many positive sustainability benefits of DER, the speed and scale with which individual devices (especially rooftop solar) have been connected to the SWIS is likely to cause significant risks to power system security and reliability within the next two years. 

The key risks that a high, unregulated, uptake of DER presents include:

  • risk of blackouts - as low demand from the SWIS in the middle of the day compromises power system stability; and
  • technical issues for network operation – as the existing network is not technically capable of handling the large amounts of intermittent generation flowing into the network from rooftop solar.

To address these risks and allow efficient use of DER going forward, the WA government has kick-started a strategy to more effectively integrate DER into the SWIS. The DER Roadmap is the first of three deliverables of this strategy. Developed by the government’s Energy Transformation Taskforce, it sets out 36 actions that have been identified as necessary to ensure that DER can continue to be connected while supporting the operation of the SWIS. Some of the key actions include:

  • Technology integration – Upgrading inverter functions and settings, implementing grid support and system operations measures, and deploying distribution network battery storage.
  • Tariffs and investment signals – Implementing pilot tariffs to encourage consumers to shift consumption to the middle of the day and to invest efficiently in DER (such as batteries), and reducing barriers for renters to install rooftop solar systems.
  • DER participation – Introducing a pilot project of a virtual power plant to test aggregation of DER, thereby assisting customers to participate in aggregation, and assisting residential and commercial tenants to access the benefits of DER. 
  • Customer protection and engagement – Provision of clear information to customers, development of customer protection frameworks, assisting customers to make informed choices about their electricity use and DER investment, and supporting them to use more energy during daylight hours.

The Roadmap sets out owners for each action, as well as priorities and timeframes for their implementation. These actions will complement the next two parts of the government’s integration strategy, being:

  • development of a whole of system plan, through comprehensive modelling to identify long-term investment options; and
  • modernisation of the design and operation of the SWIS, including updating network access arrangements and redesigning the market so that new technologies can participate (eg large-scale batteries). 

The whole of system plan is targeted for delivery in mid-2020, while the market re-design is intended to be completed in October 2022.

A copy of the DER Roadmap is available at the Energy Transformation Taskforce’s website HERE

Don’t hesitate to contact us at Grondal Bruining to discuss your situation or for advice about DER or network access.


Grondal Bruining is a commercial law and litigation firm with a team of highly experienced, respected lawyers providing specialist advice on significant commercial and corporate matters. We have been recognised in Doyles Guide as a Leading Commercial Litigation and Dispute Resolution Firm in Western Australia. The firm has a focus on power & utilities, oil & gas, resources and other commercial and industrial areas. Our team is renowned for providing outstanding benefits to clients, delivering proactive and professional advice. We are conveniently located in West Perth.

The material in this article is provided only for general information. It does not constitute legal or other advice. Contact Grondal Bruining for advice specific to your circumstances on +61 8 6500 4300. 

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