Distributed Energy Resources, or DER, are smaller-scale devices that can either use, generate or store electricity, and form a part of the local distribution system, serving homes and businesses. They include renewable generation, energy storage, electric vehicles, and technology that consumers can use at their premises to manage their electricity demand (e.g. hot water systems, pool pumps or smart appliances).
DER are transforming our electricity system, and while they offer opportunities, they are presenting serious risks to our power system.
The DER Roadmap, released in April 2020, is a five-year plan to guide the better integration of all distributed energy resources, including solar panels, battery storage and electric vehicles, and ensure that the benefits are shared across all members of the community.
The Roadmap was the first major deliverable of the McGowan Government's Energy Transformation Strategy.
The DER Roadmap outlines the opportunities presented by DER for our power system, and identifies the urgent actions required to address the near-term challenges it brings. It identifies actions that:
- pilot the best ways to overcome technical, regulatory and market barriers and integrate DER into our grid,
- progress changes to technical settings, which can provide support to the grid and greater visibility of the power system, and
- provide customers with clear information to make informed choices about their electricity use and DER investment, and ensure that customers remain protected as new business models emerge.
Two years on from the original release of the DER Roadmap, the DER Roadmap Progress Report has been released by the Minister for Energy. Implementation of the DER Roadmap is on track, achieving several milestones throughout 2021-22, including:
- the operation of 13 'PowerBanks', which is seeing community batteries support the Western Power network and make storage available to customers;
- release of the Electric Vehicle (EV) Action Plan, outlining 26 priority actions to integrate EVs within Western Australia’s power system;
- success of the ‘Midday Saver’ time-of-use tariff pilot, which will inform the development of new customer products that support a high DER future;
- progressing the State Government’s flagship DER orchestration pilot, ‘Project Symphony’, through to its customer recruitment and testing phase, with customer devices being dispatched;
- bringing-forward implementation of new inverter standards to improve power system security as the amount of rooftop solar on the grid increases; and
- release of the ‘Network Opportunities Map’ by Western Power, identifying opportunities for storage and other technologies to support the network.
In addition to the core DER Roadmap actions, Energy Policy WA oversaw the launch of ‘Emergency Solar Management’ to address short- to medium-term risks to power system security, Synergy progressed the Smart Energy for Social Housing project installing rooftop solar and efficient water heaters for social housing properties, and the Solar Schools Virtual Power Plant was extended to 10 schools.