Public webinar: Using operating envelopes to ensure network integrity - from concept to reality

Image for Public webinar: Using operating envelopes to ensure network integrity - from concept to reality

Australia has almost 1 in 4 houses with solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and more than 100,000 residential batteries. These technologies, known as Distributed Energy Resources (DERs), are also creating opportunities for their owners to provide services to the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) through aggregators.

However, as the volume of DER providing services increases, it is important to ensure the integrity of the very infrastructure that houses are connected to. This infrastructure is the electricity distribution network – the poles and wires. Distribution companies need to ensure that voltages and power flows remain within limits. But the big barrier is that they cannot directly manage DER or aggregators.

In this webinar, Prof Luis (Nando) Ochoa and Dr Michael Liu from the University of Melbourne, together with John Theunissen from AusNet Services and Nick Regan from AEMO, will present the concept of operating envelopes, as well as the challenges associated with its implementation on real networks. They will also discuss how the use of operating envelopes is being trialled by AusNet Services using algorithms developed by The University of Melbourne, as part of the $28-million ARENA-funded Project EDGE.

In this new concept, distribution companies calculate, in real time or in advance, operating envelopes (time-varying export or import limits) at the connection point of the customer (where the meter is). This information is then given to aggregators to help decide how to manage their DER portfolio. However, implementing operating envelopes can be challenging due to different data requirements, from accurate network models to smart meter data and forecasts.

Learn more about the University of Melbourne's role in Project EDGE here.


Prof Luis (Nando) Ochoa

Professor of Smart Grids and Power Systems
University of Melbourne

Nando is a Professor of Smart Grids and Power Systems at the University of Melbourne. He is an IEEE PES Distinguished Lecturer, an Editorial Board Member of the IEEE Power and Energy Magazine, and an IEEE Senior Member. His expertise in network integration of distributed energy resources (DER) and smart grids as well as his extensive portfolio of industrial and academic projects have led to 180+ research papers, 70+ technical reports, and two patents. From 2011 to 2021, he was full and part-time with The University of Manchester, UK. From 2007 to 2010 he was a Research Fellow in Energy Systems at the University of Edinburgh, UK. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering from UNI (Peru), and a Research MSc and a PhD in Electrical Power Engineering, both from UNESP Ilha Solteira (Brazil).

John Theunissen

Manager DER Integration
AusNet Services

John presently provides thought leadership and direction around future networks initiatives, especially in relation to the emerging role of Distribution System Operator, and DER integration within AusNet Services in Victoria, Australia.

John is an electrical engineer who has held numerous technical management roles within AusNet Services and its predecessor companies since 1995, initially in the protection, control and communication areas, and later in leading smart grid and network modernisation initiatives.

Previously he was Corporate Protection Consultant with Eskom, and before that worked for Siemens Limited, where he was responsible for Siemens’ national protection relaying and disturbance recording business.

Nick Regan

Project EDGE Lead
Australian Energy Market Operator

Within AEMO's DER Program, Nick leads Project EDGE, a practical DER Marketplace demonstration. Project EDGE (Energy Demand and Generation Exchange) aims to develop an evidence base to shape a pathway for DER integration, at scale, into Australia’s power systems and markets that has consumers’ best interests at its core.

Nick has held product, project management and management consulting roles focussed on the decentralisation of Australia's power system and its economic, market and commercial implications. Prior to entering the energy industry, Nick worked in corporate banking deal teams as a credit risk analyst. Nick is passionate about shaping an energy system that operates in the best interests of people and the planet.

Dr Michael Liu

Research Fellows in Smart Grids
University of Melbourne

Michael is a Research Fellow in Smart Grids at the University of Melbourne. His expertise includes the three-phase modelling of electricity distribution networks and advanced optimisation techniques for distribution network management and DER orchestration. Michael holds a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering since 2012 and a PhD in Electrical Engineering since 2020, both from the University of Melbourne.

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