CEC : National Battery Register Likely To Fail

The Clean Energy Council has warned a proposed national battery installation database will likely fail if the paperwork burden falls squarely on the shoulders of installers.

As we mentioned last month, the COAG Energy Council had submitted a rule change request to the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) to establish a national register of small-scale distributed energy resources (DERs), including battery storage and rooftop solar power systems. The register will be administered by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

While Distribution Network Service Providers (DNSPs) have rules in place that require battery installations to be registered, it seems only a fraction of them have been.

Among its various stated aims, the national battery database would assist networks in infrastructure planning and the AEMO with load forecasting, help ensure the safety of first responders and provide benefit to battery owners in relation to product recalls and end-of-life disposal.

A feedback period relating to the design of the register ended last week, and among the parties to make a submission was the Clean Energy Council.

It pointed out an installer-focused compliance scheme in Queensland has proven to be unsuccessful, with a reporting rate of only around 30 percent. In an effort to get more of these Queensland-installed battery systems registered, system owners were recently offered $50 to register their batteries.

“The CEC’s submission to the proposal for a register of distributed energy resources (DER) urges the Australian Energy Market Commission to consider a collaborative, incentive-based approach working together with solar and battery retailers rather than (or in addition to) simply imposing new rules on installers,” says the CEC.

One of the carrots that could be used is linking the reporting scheme to a system such as the accreditation process for retailers in accessing to the AEMO data register. Verification of DER reporting would become a part of spot checks and audits.

As for privacy issues, which could be a real concern given the number of parties that may get access to this data, the CEC says this is being dealt through the Open Banking Review and the processes to implement the Consumer Data Right in the energy sector.

“The AEMC should await the recommendations of those processes rather than running an overlapping consultation process that could confuse matters,” states the Council.

The CEC’s submission concerning the National Electricity Amendment (Register of distributed energy resources) Rule 2018 can be viewed in full here (PDF).

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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