Technology providers work with Australian grid operator on DER market design trial

Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay

Today, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), Australia’s power system and market operator, announced the architecture and technology partners for Project EDGE, a new initiative that will enable distributed energy resources (DER) to provide both wholesale and local network services at enterprise scale within an off-market trial environment.

The trial will be developed in partnership with local market participants AusNet Services and Mondo, and technology providers Energy Web, PXiSE, and Microsoft.

Australians have adopted DER at a very high rate with nearly one in four homes featuring rooftop solar, and up to 40% in some states (South Australia and Queensland).

Combined with the growth of energy storage, demand-side management, and utility-scale renewable generation, the Australian grid is transforming into a decentralized system in which consumer-owned DERs could play a pivotal role. This has created challenges for AEMO and distribution network operators in balancing and protecting the grid, but also creates new opportunities for consumers and other market participants to create value by supporting the energy transition with their DERs.

In response, AEMO has established a DER program to enable the transition from one-way energy supply to a system that could help maximize the value of DER for all consumers through digitization and integration of DER into Australia’s power systems and markets.

Under project EDGE, AEMO is collaborating with Mondo and AusNet Services, with input from the broader energy industry, to demonstrate via a proof-of-concept trial how aggregated fleets of DER can deliver multiple energy services at scale at both wholesale power system and local network levels.

This project will provide AEMO and its partners with technical and operational experience to inform evidence-based changes to regulatory and operational processes to effectively manage Australian electricity grids and markets with increasing levels of DER participation. Additionally, EDGE will focus specifically on understanding consumers’ perspectives and preferences in selling their DER capacity to aggregators for use in energy markets.

Technical Details

Project EDGE is using up to 10 MW of DER capacity from approximately 1000 customers to see how to streamline data exchange in order to allow DER to provide multiple grid services

The DER Marketplace will be underpinned by Energy Web’s open-source operating system, which will be used to establish digital identities for all assets and market participants in the program. This identity-based architecture facilitates secure, efficient exchange and validation of DER data amongst market participants using digital infrastructure shared amongst Australian market participants.     

The market intelligence and logic layer will be provided by PXiSE, and the solution will leverage Microsoft Azure cloud computing resources.     

DER Fleets will be dispatched as if they are participating in existing wholesale markets, while considering Distribution Network Limits in the dispatch process. In addition, the marketplace will facilitate visible, scalable and competitive trade of Local DER Services that enables Distribution Network Service Providers (DNSPs) to manage local power security and reliability and enable DER Aggregators to stack local and wholesale value streams.

Violette Mouchaileh, AEMO Chief Markets Officer, Member Services, said: “Project EDGE aims to build understanding of and inform the most efficient and sustainable way to integrate DER into the electricity system and markets, allowing all consumers to benefit from a future with high levels of DER. There is no existing product that meets all high-level requirements for the DER Marketplace, so Project EDGE is at the leading edge of product development in this space.”     


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Jesse Morris, CEO of Energy Web Foundation, added: “Australia is way ahead of the curve in the deployment of DERs. AEMO’s vision and ambition in future-proofing its energy grid can be replicated as other countries pursue similar decarbonization goals. This shared challenge is what makes an open-source infrastructure purposefully designed for the energy sector the best solution for tomorrow’s energy markets.”

Australia’s EDGE project will begin testing services in April 2022, with project completion in March 2023.

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Jennifer Runyon is a Content Director at Clarion Energy, writing, editing and posting content on POWERGRID International and planning conference sessions for DISTRIBUTECH's live and virtual events. She as the conference advisory committee chair for DISTRIBUTECH International. You can reach her at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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