ARENA Distributed Energy Resources

Up to $12.5M is available from ARENA for pilot projects and studies to integrate distributed energy resources (DER) into the electricity system.

ARENA Distributed Energy Resources

ARENA Distributed Energy Resources

The ARENA Distributed Energy Resources (DER) funding initiative aims to support increasing shares of distributed solar PV and batteries, and help distributed energy resources in homes and businesses to contribute to grid reliability.



Distributed Energy Resources (DER) are smaller power sources and flexible loads which when combined, can help balance supply and demand. As the electricity grid continues to modernise, DER will be part of a more secure and reliable transition to a smarter grid. DER can include behind the meter renewable and non-renewable generation, energy storage, electric vehicles and other controllable loads as well as enabling technologies (eg smart meters, inverters, device controllers and data services). For generators and storage, ARENA considers DER to be resources smaller than the current NEM registration threshold of 5MW.



ARENA is allocating a total of $12.5 million to activities focused on Distributed Energy Resources (DER). Funding will be split across two streams:

Funding Announcement A – Demonstration projects improving network hosting capacity of DER
These projects will help demonstrate new ways to understand and manage the impacts of high DER penetration in different parts of the distribution network. This will allow networks to connect more DER (such as rooftop solar PV) while reducing costs and operating within the technical limits of the power system.

Funding Announcement B – Studies contributing to improved integration of DER
These studies will help startups, networks, retailers, government and system operators develop solutions to address the technical, regulatory and commercial challenges of managing a grid with a high penetration of DER.


Eligible Projects

Funding Announcement A

This funding announcement is targeted at novel approaches that increase hosting capacity by managing power flow and voltage fluctuations from distributed renewable resources in real time, or allowing the power system to operate within secure technical limits with minimal constraints on DER systems exporting energy to the grid.

Examples of the types of projects in scope of this funding announcement include:

  • demonstrating smart grid technology that manages power flow or voltage, enabling network providers to manage high shares of PV
  • demonstrating innovative protection schemes that can operate with reverse power flows generated by high shares of PV
  • demonstrating innovative schemes that deliver power system security when the instantaneous demand for electricity in a region is being met by distributed PV
  • Developing and demonstrating improved emergency frequency control mechanisms, such as Under Frequency Load Shedding (UFLS) or Over Frequency Generation Shedding for operation with high levels of distributed PV
  • Developing improved models of the behaviour of DER during power system disturbances, for use in power system planning studies.

Funding Announcement B

This funding announcement is targeted at novel studies or models that investigate and evaluate approaches to either: orchestrating DER; or increasing hosting capacity.

Examples of the types of studies in scope of this funding announcement include:

  • simulations of how real-time control of distributed PV can help increase network hosting capacity and manage impacts across the electricity system
  • modelling how different factors affect the DER value stack (e.g. how consumer participation changes in different locations)
  • modelling or research exploring how incentives for DER affect consumer acquisition, retention and participation
  • analysing the behaviour of correlated distributed PV in response to events such as system disturbances
  • modelling the extent to which the use of DER for one purpose aligns or conflicts with its use for other purposes
  • studies analysing the system risks from different models of orchestrated DER and how they can be managed, for example risks of supply disruption from compromising the cybersecurity of DER control systems
  • analysing how regulatory frameworks and system processes could adapt to facilitate aggregated DER participation in the central dispatch process.



Applications for Funding A close 7 May 2018 and Funding Announcement B close 16 April 2018.


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