Interactive maps show the way to clean energy future via demand management

Demand management boosted by Energy Networks Australia grid maps.Energy Networks Australia

New interactive grid maps will assist demand management and support clean energy uptake in a decentralised distribution network.

The Network Opportunity Maps include up-to-date data relating to network investment and load forecast data.

They also show where new solar battery, wind and renewable generation can best be placed to assist a decentralised electricity grid.

For investors, they can show the ideal location for a large-scale solar array or a wind farm.

But the maps also offer data to encourage home solar power and solar energy storage at a local level.

More detail about supply and demand in the national grid will help develop new energy markets. That’s because the maps pave the way for a smarter, decentralised and more reliable grid.

Demand management creates a sharing economy

Energy Networks Australia (ENA) developed the maps with the Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) over a three-year period. They are also backed by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) along with CSIRO, the NSW Government and industry partners.

Demand management in the energy sector aligns customer assets and encourages a ‘sharing economy’, according to ISF.

Demand management boosted by new interactive grid maps.

New interactive grid maps assist demand management and the ‘sharing economy’. Image: Energy Networks Australia.

“This is where the sharing economy meets the electricity sector,” says ISF Research Director Chris Dunstan.

“The Network Opportunity Maps will identify areas of emerging constraint in the grid. These may be areas where businesses and residential customers can use their own energy resources, like solar, batteries, and smart energy management to support the network and be rewarded for it.”

As a result, this reduces the amount spent on poles, wires and costly infrastructure, says ENA Interim CEO Andrew Dillon.

Demand response for Australia’s energy future

Subsequently, the maps will complement the Demand Management Incentive Scheme for network businesses, ENA claims.

They will also strengthen the three-year demand response trial projects announced by ARENA and the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) this month.

NSW Minister for Resources, Energy and Utilities Don Harwin said the resource will make it easier to choose the right location and also the size of clean energy projects.

“The maps will help drive investment in regional NSW, and improve the grid whilst reducing network costs for consumers,” he said.

A webinar briefing on the maps will also be conducted 2 November 2017 from 2.30-4.00pm.