With rooftop solar developments in the US dominating the news, it may be a surprise to learn that Australia is a global leader, writes Jonathan Spencer Jones, content analyst at Engerati, the sister portal to Metering & Smart Energy International.
Ranking sixth in the world for installed solar capacity, what is significant is that almost all is rooftop solar, with some of the highest penetration rates - over 50% - in suburbs of Australian cities Brisbane and Adelaide.
With this growth, it is also understandable that the battery storage market is attracting a lot of interest, thanks in large part to the Australian government’s support. [Australian Households To Lead the Energy Revolution]
Energy systems integration is something we are going to be hearing a lot more about. As the energy system becomes more decentralized and distributed, integration of different energy sources from solar to gas at various scales from residential to utility and across different sectors from heat to transport all needs to occur with smart infrastructure.
But there are legal, regulatory, financial and technical issues that need to be addressed, and significantly who should be taking the lead. [Energy Systems Integration Challenges Future]
Decarbonisation demands distribution upgrades
Decarbonization efforts are placing increasing demands on distribution networks, particularly the low voltage (LV) networks where electricity is required to be supplied within tightly defined voltage limits and at a sufficient quality. As an alternative to costly conventional reinforcement, UK Power Networks is testing newly designed power electronics devices.
To date these devices have demonstrated they can control real power flow allowing a heavily loaded transformer to be supported by one or two other connected transformers. Such is the significance of this work that the project was named the Industry Innovation Award winner at European Utility Week 2015. [UK Power Networks Wins the Industry Innovation Award]
Data, available from many sources today, needs to be turned by utilities into valuable information so as to better engage with the energy consumer, reduce churn, improve operational efficiency and strengthen market competitiveness.
We spoke to a number of industry experts in our studios at European Utility Week to gain more insight into how utilities can harness the opportunities of data aggregation and analysis. Among examples discussed are using data to improve the customer experience, gain brand recognition, target customer segments with new services and products, and personalise customer communications. [Data-A Serious Market Differentiator ]