For an overview of the project you can view the following documents or read further information below.

Australia’s electricity distribution systems were developed decades ago, at a time when electricity generation was highly centralised and new entrants to the market were few and far between.

But the way Australians use electricity is rapidly changing. Demand is falling, more households are generating their own power using solar panels, and there are numerous new entrants to the market, like renewable energy power stations.

Our electricity distribution systems were not set up with this usage in mind. As a result, there is an urgent need for governments, regulators and the industry to examine these systems in a new light. Unless we can design and implement a coordinated approach to addressing this paradigm shift in electricity distribution, there is a strong chance that inefficiencies and other problems will occur.

During 2013 the Clean Energy Council held a series of workshops across Australia. Their objective was to bring together electricity industry stakeholders to discuss and understand the challenges and issues faced by the ongoing expansion of commercial-scale solar systems across Australian distribution networks. The workshops revealed numerous interrelated issues surrounding the integration of renewable energy, storage and demand management into Australia’s distribution networks.

The views of more than 100 industry experts were collected from these events. This provided the Clean Energy Council with a unique understanding of the challenges and led us to design the FPDI Project.

Objectives

The FPDI project aims to bring the major players together to develop a roadmap for a more flexible and resilient electricity distribution industry, one that addresses the current and future needs of energy consumers and producers alike.

FPDI’s core objectives are:

  • To identify key barriers that challenge the sustainable integration of renewable energy and demand management, as well as what is needed to resolve these issues efficiently in both the short and long term.
  • To establish, coordinate and maintain relationships and transparent dialogue between key stakeholders.
  • To ensure a holistic approach to the distribution industry.
  • To provide a set of recommendations and advocacy platforms to inform policy and regulation reform aimed at alleviating barriers to integrating renewable energy and demand management.
  • To demonstrate the technical performance of existing and emerging renewable energy and demand management technologies and explore their value to the distribution network.

Benefits of the project

By discussing, identifying and implementing pathways to an enhanced electricity distribution system, the opportunities for Australian electricity networks, retailers, consumers and producers alike will significantly increase.

Improving the way the electricity industry interacts with distributed generation, demand management, storage and the associated new technologies will break down many of the challenges facing the continued growth of renewable energy and its associated enabling technologies. These new arrangements aim to make it easier – and cheaper – for companies and individuals to invest in renewable energy throughout Australia.

This will open up the market to new entrants, make Australia a more attractive investment destination, allow households to take control of their power use and reduce our power sector carbon emissions.

The way we use and generate electricity has already changed substantially and this trend is only going to continue. With much of Australia’s ageing electricity infrastructure nearing the end of its lifespan, this project seeks to future-proof our electricity distribution industry so that it will stand us in good stead for many years to come.

Want to know more?

If you would like any more information, please contact Clean Energy Council Network Specialist Tom Butler.