Review of governance of Distributed Energy Resource (DER) technical standards

Sapere was retained by Australia’s Energy Security Board to review governance of technical standards for Distributed Energy Resources (DER). Working with engineering experts from Cutler Merz, this work involved extensive stakeholder consultation, desktop research, a survey and a webinar. It resulted in a set of proposals for change.

The Review highlights that to date the governance of DER technical standards has been fragmented, lacking clarity of roles and coordination. In addition, resourcing is inadequate and the pace of change is slower than needed given the rapid deployment of DER in the NEM. The result is that DER systems deployed today are not necessarily able to deliver the performance levels and services required to support system security, efficient and effective distribution network management and the optimisation of DER benefits for all electricity system users.

The Review identified critical gaps and weaknesses in the current governance system, including:

  • An overall lack of leadership and coordination and clear objective as to how DER technical standards should be governed.
  • Weaknesses in the Standards Australia technical standards process in terms of speed, transparency, participation and decision making not being explicitly aligned with National Electricity Objective.
  • Lack of harmonisation in network connection standards across Distribution Network Service Providers (DNSPs).
  • Under-resourcing of compliance and enforcement activities, and gaps especially for non-safety related standards.

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