UPDATE: ClimateWorks, the Property Council of Australia and Seed Advisory have released a new report which assessed the extent to which electricity network companies had complied with the new rules for connecting embedded generators to the electricity network. The report found that the reforms, which sought to bring greater certainty for consumers through a faster, cheaper process for connecting clean energy and other embedded generation systems, had not been adequately implemented by all the distribution network service providers. More information is available in this summary and in the full report.
Embedded energy generation such as cogeneration (combined heat and power), tri-generation (combined cooling, heat and power) and renewable energy, such as solar, offers Australia significant environmental and economic benefits. Increasingly, Australian property developers and owners are seeking to incorporate these energy solutions into their existing buildings and new developments. However, up until recently there were complex connection processes resulting from regulatory barriers that inhibited deploying this technology.
ClimateWorks commenced the Unlocking Barriers to Cogeneration (UBC) project, with Seed Advisory and the Property Council of Australia, in 2011 to design solutions to address these barriers. Its research and workshops led to a report recommending rule changes to the National Electricity Market (NEM) that make it easier to install and operate co/trigeneration above 5MW.
In April 2014 the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) adopted these recommendations making it simpler to connect clean energy to the national electricity grid, with the rule changes taking effect from October 2014.
The new rules now offer a revamped connection process that empowers customers with:
Certainty and faster connection stages.
Critical information and lower costs for feasibility assessments.
Greater customer rights.
The AEMC’s final determination can be accessed here.