Updating the Distributed Energy Resource (DER) Register

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The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) is required by law to keep a register of distributed energy resources (DER). The Register is designed to assist AEMO in relation to grid security and stability. DER installers and electricity network service providers (NSPs) are responsible for providing the relevant information to AEMO via the register.

The General Framework

In summary, DER installers (electrical contractors) of photo-voltaic (PV) generation systems and battery systems are required to provide information to the Register. The steps in the process are:

Step 1: A contractor/ DER installer will apply to the NSP for a connection and receive approval for the installation;

(This is generally done through the NSP’s DER connection webpage. The information is then added to the DER Register.)

Step 2: Once approval is obtained and the customer agrees, the installation proceeds;

Step 3: When the installation is complete, the DER installer collects information about what is installed on the site:

Step 4: The DER installer then provides information to AEMO’s DER Register;

(This is generally done by the installer adding the information to the AEMO Register website or by using the solar installer mobile app.)

Step 5: The NSP approves the data and updates the DER Register. AEMO system then generates a certificate for the installer.

(AEMO confirms the DER Register data and confirmation is provided to the installer and the NSP.)

The NSP must provide the data to AEMO on every generator and battery device connected to the grid. This information is required to be provided within 20 days of a DER activation.

NB: The National Electricity Rules do not require retailers to provide information to the DER Register. However, retailers that have DER installers are expected to provide information as part of the NSP’s DER connection processes.

Do embedded networks need to update the register?

In 2018, the COAG Energy Council released a rule determination for DER titled the Rule Determination: National Electricity Amendment (Register of Distributed Energy Resources) Rule 2018.

In relation to the discussion concerning the obligation on other parties to collect information, many stakeholders were of the view that obligations on one or more parties (i.e. electricians, installers, retailers, aggregators, etc.) would need to be considered in order for a DER register to collect a relevant amount of data.

On this issue, AEMO suggested that any party that may have access to the DER to set or change settings should be required to update the register and that without such obligations the data set would become out of date and over time the entire purpose of the register would be undermined. AEMO considered that these other parties should include retailers, aggregators, embedded network operators and other market participants.

Some stakeholders recommended that DER aggregators could be responsible for collecting DER information, while others suggested that an obligation could be placed on energy retailers, adding that the energy retailers are the first point of contact with end consumers.

The Commission recognised that the draft rule does not include obligations on embedded networks. Embedded networks are currently exempted by the AER to comply with certain technical requirements set out in Chapter 5 of the NER. However, the AEMC is about to initiate further work into embedded networks which will take this issue into further consideration.

In the FINAL REPORT UPDATING THE REGULATORY FRAMEWORKS FOR EMBEDDED NETWORKS 20 JUNE 2019, the AEMC, considered the ‘visibility of DER in embedded networks’. The Commission agreed with stakeholder concerns about the visibility of DER in embedded networks by the relevant DNSP. The Commission’s final recommendations extend the changes to the NER introduced through the National Electricity Amendment (Register of Distributed Energy Resources) Rule 2018379 to also include embedded networks. This Rule has not been implemented to date.

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