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SA energy transition initiatives welcomed

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SA Power Networks welcomes the energy transition initiatives announced today by the SA Government.

“While we see our State’s energy transformation as an exciting opportunity, South Australia has some very specific challenges in managing our electricity system due to high levels of rooftop solar generation and comparatively low levels of energy demand,” said Manager Corporate Affairs, Paul Roberts.

The challenges impact all levels of the State’s energy system and ultimately put at risk the security, reliability and quality of supply experienced by customers.

“SA Power Networks has been engaging with customers, stakeholders, rule makers, industry and manufacturers to develop prudent, cost effective approaches to deal with emerging issues in the electricity distribution network due to rapidly increasing levels of solar generation in our system,” Mr Roberts said. These initiatives include:

  • Introduction from 1 July 2020 of new residential Time-of-Use network tariffs recently approved by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER). These ‘solar sponge’ tariffs provide cheaper daytime network charges to encourage use of more solar-generated energy during the middle of the day.
  • Encouraging more loads, such as water heating, to shift to the daytime to soak up extra (and cheaper) solar generation.
  • With the support of the State Government, investing in enhanced voltage management and providing emergency backstop capabilities if required by AEMO.
  • Monitoring and analytics in the low voltage network to provide better real-time visibility of what is happening in local networks.
  • Developing industry approaches and standards to support introduction of flexible export limits for rooftop solar to respond to what is happening in the network at any given time.

“The measures being undertaken by SA Power Networks create the potential to double the amount of renewable energy the distribution network can accommodate over the next five years,” Mr Roberts said. “This will give more South Australians access to cheaper solar energy and it will also significantly reduce the number of customers whose rooftop systems switch off in response to high voltages in parts of the distribution network.”

Mr Roberts said SA Power Networks welcomed specific initiatives announced by the government that will assist in managing the issues in the distribution network and support actions already underway, including:

  • Making it mandatory for retailers to offer customers innovative network tariffs to soak up daytime solar.
  • Establishing consistent solar, inverter and appliance standards for manufacturers and ensuring installer compliance.
  • Working with Virtual Power Plant (VPP) proponents in SA to ensure they assist in managing network issues.

Media contact: 0403 582 500

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