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Analyzing the Initial Phase of DERMs Implementation and Future Outlook

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DERMs Summit Sneak Peek

The countdown is to the Power + Utilities Australia 2024 Leadership Summit. In anticipation, we’re giving you exclusive insight into what you can expect our line-up of industry professionals and experts to be discussing.

This year, the summit includes a dedicated stream to dissecting the current grid and the systems that keep it running. The future of grid systems in relation to utilities is poised for transformation driven by digitalization, decentralization, and decarbonization trends. Utilities are increasingly integrating advanced technologies such as smart meters, sensors, and predictive analytics to enhance grid reliability, optimize energy distribution, and accommodate a growing share of renewable energy sources, ultimately paving the way for a more resilient, flexible, and sustainable energy infrastructure.

We spoke to 2024 Leadership Summit speaker Ruchika Deora of the State Electricity Commission Victoria, as she gives us her thoughts before the highly anticipated session in May.

Ruchika Deora DERMs

1. What challenges and findings have emerged in early Distributed Energy Resource Management Systems (DERMs) implementation, and how do they align with expectations?

In the initial phase of implementing Distributed Energy Resource Management Systems (DERMS), one critical aspect that requires attention is transparency regarding the operational framework of the proposed DERMS. This transparency ensures that stakeholders, including utility companies and consumers, have a clear understanding of how the DERMS will function and its impact on the energy ecosystem.

Another significant challenge lies in defining and understanding the roles and responsibilities associated with customer management, market contracts, and other pertinent aspects. Without clearly delineated roles, confusion may arise among stakeholders, leading to inefficiencies and hindrances in the smooth operation of the DERMS.

Moreover, the engagement with end-use consumers often takes a backseat during the early stages of DERMS implementation. This lack of prioritization can result in missed opportunities to incorporate valuable feedback and insights from consumers, who are integral to the success of DERMS initiatives. Effective engagement strategies need to be established to involve consumers actively in the process, fostering a sense of ownership and understanding of their role in the evolving energy landscape.

2. How do you think DERMS technologies can enhance the granularity and flexibility of tariff designs to better reflect the value of distributed energy resources, such as solar PV, battery storage, and electric vehicles, in the grid?

DERMS technologies hold immense potential to revolutionize tariff design by offering greater granularity and flexibility. However, their impact is often limited due to the infrequent transmission of tariff signals directly to end-use consumers. This lack of direct communication impedes consumers’ ability to make informed decisions based on real-time pricing information. Furthermore, the opacity surrounding network tariffs within the total bill exacerbates the issue, as retailers are not mandated to convey network price signals to consumers. As a result, the full benefits of DERMS technologies in optimizing tariff structures and promoting energy efficiency remain largely unrealized, highlighting the need for reforms to enhance price transparency and consumer empowerment in the energy market.

3. What strategies do you feel utilities should consider to effectively leverage DERMS for asset optimization and grid reliability?

In DERMS implementation, providing signals at the asset level such as transformers, Distribution System Operators (DSS), and Zone Substation Switches (ZSS) is pivotal. These signals serve as crucial operational requirements for aggregators and retailers bidding into the network market. Access to real-time data on asset capacities and system constraints enables both aggregators and retailers to optimize their bidding strategies, maximizing the value of distributed energy resources (DERs) while ensuring grid stability. This empowers market participants to adapt dynamically to grid conditions, promoting efficient resource allocation and utilization, and driving the transition towards a more flexible and sustainable energy system.

4. What do you see are the key benefits that DERMS offer in terms of enabling utilities to effectively manage and leverage Customer Energy Resources (CERs) for grid stability, demand response, and renewable energy integration?

Firstly, DERMS facilitates improved asset utilization rates, a key factor in driving down costs for consumers. By optimizing the use of existing energy infrastructure, DERMS helps minimize inefficiencies and reduce operational expenses, ultimately translating into more affordable energy bills for consumers.

Secondly, DERMS opens up new revenue streams for consumers through investments in demand response enabled devices. These devices enable consumers to actively participate in demand response programs, allowing them to capitalize on opportunities to adjust their energy consumption patterns in response to grid conditions. This not only helps in reducing peak demand but also shortens the payback period for behind-the-meter assets, incentivizing further adoption and investment in energy-efficient technologies.

Additionally, DERMS contributes to improved climate outcomes by facilitating the increased penetration of renewable generation resources. By optimizing the integration of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power into the grid, DERMS supports the transition towards a more sustainable and low-carbon energy system, helping mitigate the impacts of climate change while promoting energy independence and resilience.

Overall, DERMS holds the potential to revolutionize the energy landscape, delivering tangible benefits for consumers, businesses, and the environment alike.

Don’t miss hearing from Ruchika and the panel experts live this 7 -8 May! Book your ticket here.

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