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On Thursday, the global nonprofit Energy Web Foundationwhich works to develop open-source, decentralized technology and core infrastructure in support of low-carbon, customer-centric electricity systems, announced that the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), Australia’s national power system and market operator, has selected architecture and technology partners for its groundbreaking Project EDGE initiative. AEMO’s Project EDGE will enable distributed energy resources (DER) to provide wholesale and network services at enterprise scale in an off-market trial environment.

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

Energy Web notes that Australia is currently the world leader in adoption and deployment of distributed energy resources (DER). One in four Australian homes is equipped with rooftop solar, a figure that approaches up to 40 percent in states like Queensland and South Australia.

Along with this development, the growth of energy storage, demand-side management and utility-scale renewable generation are all factors shifting the Australian grid into a decentralized system in which consumer-owned DER’s play an increasingly important role. This has created challenges for AEMO (and distribution network operators) in balancing and protecting the grid, and brought opportunities for consumers and other market participants to support the energy transition through their DER’s.

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.

“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,” AEMO Chief Markets Officer Violette Mouchaileh said in connection with Thursday’s announcement.  “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.” 

Australia is way ahead of the curve in the deployment of DERs,” Energy Web Foundation CEO Jesse Morris said. “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.”

The EDGE Project is being supported by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), with AEMO receiving almost $13 million in funding for the project. ARENA CEO Darren Miller previously announced that this landmark trial will provide the blueprint for integrating DER into the Australian grid.

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

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