Improving system capabilities for improved integration, security and reliability to the grid

Improving system capabilities for improved integration, security and reliability to the grid

11 Oct 2017, 1:10 PM - 2:30 PM

Room 212, Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre
English (Australia)

Chairperson: Simon Taylor,  Group Manager Network Customers at Powerlink Queensland - ‎Powerlink


wiseGrids: Addressing a total systems approach to the grid to minimise risks

Graham Davies, MD, Resonant Solutions Pty Ltd and Chair, Sustainable Engineering Society, Engineers Australia Institute

There is much discussion around the reliability, affordability and emissions of energy and electricity in Australia. The focus of this presentation is to consider the grid holistically within the context of what the grid is supposed to do, what elements make up the grid, and how to go about modelling and choosing the optimum mix. 

A wiseGRID is presented as a total systems approach to a grid, and encompasses key values such as that any electricity grid should provide positive results to society, whilst not negatively impacting the environment and communities who may not be part of the grid.

In this context, any proposed solution should consider the whole of life and all externalities – without which we are ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’.

The technical elements of a wise GRID include Generation, Storage, Demand, Management, Flexibility and also non-electrical supplements. Within these categories, all technologies will be compared.

Once the elements strengths , weaknesses and capabilities have been defined it is then necessary to establish the area in which a solution is required. In this talk, South Australia will be considered because it is the most discussed, it’s a ‘skinny’ grid and I happen to live there. Furthermore, SA should be divided into sub-regions, where the grid is at its most vulnerable.

Setting criteria and weightings, is the pre-requisite to building a full model and trying out different scenarios. The optimum could be to achieve a minimum summed outage combined with the lowest cost. The cost should be a whole of life costs which includes emissions and other externalities.

Once the criteria, the elements have been established, this can be entered into a large model that could consider scenarios such as: What is the impact of an interconnector on pumped hydro viability; networked microgrids with synthetic inertia; Concentrated Solar Thermal at Pt Augusta (and other locations) to strengthen the remote regions.Risks of increased weather events and sudden closure of aging power stations need to be considered to find the best way forward. A model is only as good as its inputs, and close consideration should be given to the inputs and also the interpretation of the output.

The grid does not operate as an open market in the same way that selling food does. This is because the end user is shielded from the spot prices and thus does not react to demand or surplus price signals. Can this be changed using wiseMETERS; can a privatised electricity market work for the common good; can a infrastructure budget be provided to AEMO when there is no mulit-partisan agreement? These questions will be briefly address and a case study will be presented along with short and long term solutions.


Comparing options between energy storage  with other forms of renewable energy  to improve dispatch ability 

Dr Keith Lovegrove, Head - Solar Thermal, ITP Energised Group, Managing Director ITP Thermal Pty Ltd

This session will look at a recent study on ARENA’s investment priority on delivering secure and reliable electricity. It will look at the number of technology options that are available, or could become available, to support a reliable, secure and affordable electricity system. It will give a detailed and objective look at these options including energy storage options which will need to be considered in relation to the different combinations of variable renewable electricity either co-located or separate as well as renewable generation that is naturally dispatchable. Technologies assessed include utility scale Wind or PV generation or a grid sourced mix of renewable electricity in combination with: 

•Large network connected batteries 

•Pumped hydro (fresh and sea water) storage 

•Hydrogen storage

•Demand side energy storage such as ice / phase change materials for cooling 

•Managed changes in demand 

•Variable generation that is deliberately held at partial curtailment 

•Behind the meter PV generation and batteries 

•Concentrating solar power (CSP) with thermal storage 

•Geothermal generation 

•Bio Energy – liquid, solid, gas 


Importance of integrated control systems in order to integrate Resi BESS with advanced Home Energy Management Systems

Dean Condon, Technology Innovation Engineer, Energy Queensland

Ergon Energy has been conducting field trials of solar PV and Battery Energy Storage System in Townsville for 5 years. The field trial site is a single street of 14 customers and 10 of the customers have been participating in Ergon Energy projects. The customers are fully engaged and open to working with Ergon Energy on technology projects.

When customers have multiple sources of energy (grid and solar PV), storage (BESS) and an energy management system (HEMS), they have potential to provide benefit themselves, as well as retailers and networks.

However key findings from projects to date have shown that without mature integrated control systems, negative customer and grid impacts cannot be avoided. These projects have also shown that the industry is evolving rapidly, that the opportunity for enabling and working with developers is now and that there is significant scope to improve the capabilities of these systems if they have better integration to enable a more sustainable network.

The current project phase intends to build on work done to date at the field trial location and include reviewing commercially available control systems and the implementation and evaluation of a single overarching control system. This presentation presents results and findings to date.


Market-scale smart inverter demonstration to voltage and increase solar PV penetration

Lawrence Mcintosh, Senior Research Consultant, Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 

Networks Renewed is a major project funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) that aims to demonstrate how solar PV and inverters can be a valuable resource for supporting distribution networks.

This counters the common view that rooftop solar PV generation can be problematic for networks because it affects the local network voltage and can push it to the limits of the allowed voltage range.  When this happens, solar inverters and storage inverters trip off and solar generation can be lost – reducing their effectiveness to the customer and their value to the wider system.

Instead, using smart inverter technology and controls being tested by Networks Renewed project partners, inverters can manage real and reactive power to help regulate the voltage within required limits.  This keeps the network running safely and efficiently under a wide range of solar and load conditions.

By targeting voltage regulation, Networks Renewed aims to enable higher levels of rooftop solar PV generation to be hosted by distribution networks.

In this presentation we will show what has been learnt from the pilot-scale demonstrations on Essential Energy’s network on the NSW central coast and United Energy’s network in the southeastern suburbs of Melbourne. The demonstrations span solar PV inverters, battery energy storage inverters, and hybrid inverters, overhead lines, underground lines, single-wire earth-return (SWER) networks, and 3-phase networks, measuring the influence that residential-scale inverters have on network voltage and how they can coordinate to regulate network voltage most effectively.

We will discuss how lessons learnt have guided the design of market-scale demonstrations that are now commencing.  These will reach the scale needed to have corrective impact, as appropriate to each network segment, and will also demonstrate the commercial proposition works for networks, customers, and providers of inverter communication and controls.

Two commercial models are also being tested: a network-owned model where behind-the-meter equipment is part of a network’s asset base, and a customer-owned model with financial incentives for customer’s to offer their inverters for third-party control. One outcome of the project will be a network services model and contract that we understand are unique in Australia at this time. In these contexts we will be examining the value of voltage regulation services to all concerned. 


  • Simon Taylor


    Group Manager Network Customers at Powerlink Queensland


  • Graham Davies



    Resonant Solutions Pty Ltd

    Graham is a Chartered Engineer with global experience in design, analysis, operations and project management in the energy (including solar PV, solar...

  • Dr Keith Lovegrove


    Head - Solar Thermal

    ITP Energised Group,

    Dr. Keith Lovegrove is the Head – Solar Thermal for the ITP Energised Group and managing director of ITP Thermal Pty Ltd. He has 30 year of...

  • Dean Condon


    Technology Innovation Engineer

    Energy Queensland

    Dean is a Project Engineer at Energy Queensland, where he leads projects to test and evaluate grid connected technology.  Dean has been working...

  • Lawrence Mcintosh


    Senior Research Consultant, Institute for Sustainable Futures


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