ARENA asks Luceo Energy to Help Increase DER in Low Voltage Networks

Queensland energy data company, Luceo Energy, has been tasked with providing a solution to distribution network service providers (DNSPs) to help them smoothly manage distributed energy resources (DER) within low voltage networks, by the Australian government. For this purpose, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has extended $2.6 million in funding to the Brisbane-based clean-tech innovator.

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The allocation of these funds is part of a $5.7 million project, titled SHIELD (Synchronising Heterogeneous Information to Evaluate Limits for DNSPs), which will be trialled in Queensland and New South Wales. The project will be assisted by partners like the University of Queensland, GridQube Pty Ltd, Essential Energy, Ergon Energy and Energex.

DNSPs face a serious problem of lacking the ability to access and harness non-network-owned sources of low voltage data in real time, which results into unreliable data that is at odds with network management systems. The resulting information data gap acts as a barrier to DNSPs’ ability to plan and dynamically manage DER within technical limits. As a result, DNSPs are unable to confidently deviate from conservative or static network hosting capacity limits.

To solve this issue, Luceo Energy will develop a proof-of-concept data platform that will integrate data from various sources, as well as a network hosting capacity estimator to analyse this data. Data sources will be acquired from networks, project partners and third parties, and will include network infrastructure, network-connected devices such NBN hubs, smart meter data and smart DER data such as batteries and inverters. As a result, DNSPs will be able to better assess DER hosting capacity at low voltage network levels, and the project will optimise how the network supports increasing renewable energy DER penetration in their networks. Businesses will also become better informed on the benefits of utilising a mix of network data solutions to improve the accuracy of network hosting capacity estimations through greater visibility, instead of costly network augmentation.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said, “There is growing recognition that the lack of reliable, low voltage network data is limiting DER’s true value for both customers and networks. It is, however, incredibly difficult to acquire, sort and integrate multiple data sets into a single source. Tackling this complex and challenging task is what makes Luceo Energy’s project so innovative.” He added that the project could increase the value delivered by renewables by determining a ‘sweet spot’ between investment in data monitoring and visibility of DER to ensure that the right level of investment is applied, benefiting all key stakeholders including DNSPs, regulators and ultimately customers.

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Soumya Duggal

Soumya is a master's degree holder in English, with a passion for writing. It's an interest she has directed towards environmental writing recently, with a special emphasis on the progress being made in renewable energy.