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Australian Government | Australian Renewable Energy Agency | ARENA
30 November 2021

The role of flexible demand in Australia's energy future

Welcome to ARENA Insights - a newsletter dedicated to sharing knowledge and insights directly with industry.


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Spotlight: Demand flexibility

Demand side flexibility is an increasingly viable alternative to traditional grid systems that can achieve balance efficiently and economically. However, this approach will require new technologies, market processes and ways of engaging with customers.

Read our Demand Flexibility explainer, which explores the issue, current challenges and opportunities, and how ARENA will explore demand flexibility as a key focus area under our strategic priority to optimise the transition to renewable electricity.


Read the explainer 


Spotlight: The future of smart homes

Through the Rheem SA Smart Network project, Combined Energy Technologies (CET), SA Power Networks and interested retailers are demonstrating flexible orchestration of behind-the-meter devices.

We sat down with Malcolm McEwan, CEO of CET to find out how the project rewards customers for supporting the local network through the use of home energy management systems.

Read our spotlight interview with Combined Energy Technologies 

Find out more about the Rheem SA Smart Network Project 

Image showing cloud band over South Australia

Project EDGE delivering a market-leading market

Project EDGE is an off-market, proof-of-concept Distributed Energy Resource (DER) marketplace that provides both wholesale and local network services within the constraints of the distribution network. 

This is the first Lessons Learnt Report released; providing an initial update to the industry regarding progress and challenges to date.

Image: Overview of AEMO’s Project EDGE, in partnership with AusNet Services and Mondo.


Read AEMO’s first Lessons Learnt Report on Project EDGE 


AGL smart charging trial prepares for EV growth

AGL’s trial involves testing smart charging incentives and technologies across four groups: a control group of EV customers on time-of-use tariffs; a group of smart charging customers; a group of vehicle-to-grid customers and a group of software smart charging customers.

This second lessons learnt report covers lessons from customer acquisition, software development, charger supply chains, installation and customer research.

Image: An electric vehicle. Image source: EV Talk 


Read AGL’s second lessons learnt report 


Demand Response Final Report & Evaluation

The joint ARENA-AEMO Demand Response Short Notice Reliability and Emergency Reserve Trader trial was a $35.7 million program involving 8 projects trialling innovative approaches to residential and commercial and industrial (C&I) Demand Response (DR) services in the National Electricity Market (NEM) between 2017 and 2020.

An independent evaluation found that the program accelerated the market for C&I DR services in Australia and provided critical lessons to the industry in the applicability of residential programs for DR. As a result, the trial catalysed a competitive market for DR in the C&I sector.

Image: Amount of demand response contracted in Year 3 of the RERT Trial.


Read ARENA’s DR Short Notice Trial RERT Trial Year 3 Report 

Read the Independent Evaluation of ARENA’s DR Portfolio 


Call for action: demand flexibility project ideas

To accelerate the opportunities offered by demand flexibility, ARENA is expanding its portfolio of projects that can provide new flexible demand capacity. ARENA welcomes project proposals that can provide new flexible demand capacity either via ‘load shaping’ or ‘load shifting’ to help align customer electricity demand with variable renewable energy supply.

If you wish to receive more information on ARENA’s future activities in demand flexibility, please contact


Upcoming events

There are two conferences coming up in December on Solar PV R&D.

The 31st International Photovoltaic Science and Engineering Conference, PVSEC-31, will take place online from 13- 15 December.

> Register for the PVSEC-31 conference here 

The Australian Photovoltaic Institute (APVI) Asia-Pacific Solar Research Conference 2021 will be held from the 16 – 17 Dec at UNSW Sydney.

> Register for the APVI conference here



New to the Knowledge Bank

Bioenergy / Energy-from-waste

This report identifies the role that the bioenergy sector can play in Australia’s energy transition and in helping Australia to further reduce emissions.

Distributed Energy Resources / Demand Flexibility

This report presents the findings from the Intelligent Switchgear project and discusses development of the switchgear, data analysis, system planning and real-time operation, grid hosting capacity, and event analysis.

This report presents the findings of Jemena’s demonstration in Victoria of three dynamic grid-side technologies, including Phase Shifting Devices, Power Compensation Devices, and a Battery Energy Storage System.

Rheem Active Hot Water Control project’s report outlines the methodologies and data that will be employed to measure network value, customer value, aggregator value, supplier value.

These reports present the lessons learnt from the Horizon Power DER Trial in Carnarvon and discuss the final project observations and remaining knowledge gaps.

The ARENA-funded deX Program was a two and half year program that culminated in the realisation of deX as a commercially viable, digital DER integration and management platform.


This report summarises the key highlights and outcomes of the project. A Solid Oxide Electrolyser stack was designed and constructed and evidence shows that it is able to be integrated with various upstream sources and downstream fuel synthesis processes.

Ocean energy

This report outlines findings from the Wave Energy Cost Reduction project which investigated the optimal number, size, arrangement and location of wave energy device arrays to minimise the cost of installation and infrastructure while maximising power output.

Renewables for Industry

The University of South Australia’s Displacement of Gas by Thermal Energy Storage project’s latest report discusses the delivery, results and conclusion of an investigation into the thermal and physical properties of quartzite rock for use as the storage media in an electrically-charged, air-based packed-bed system.

Solar PV R&D

This project will develop ways to identify faulty modules earlier, to reduce risk and lower the cost of PV power-plants. This report provides an update on what has been learnt at the mid-point of the project.

This report presents the findings from investigating the use of novel multifunctional dielectric layers to simplify processing of high-efficiency silicon solar cells.

This report discusses the project results and lessons learnt to date for Monash University’s Polymer PV Study. The project aims to bring all-polymer solar cells closer to commercialisation.

This report covers the activities during project development such as use of test sites in validating usability of installation guides, processes and applications, creation of installer and customer journey maps.

This report outlines lessons learnt from UNSW’s Reduced Solar Module Temperature project, which aims to demonstrate methods to change solar panel design to lower operating temperatures in the field.

This report presents the challenges in implementing the Allume Solar Rooftop Project that resulted in mutual termination of the project.

This report shares the key findings, observations and outcomes of the Heterocontact-Polysilicon Hybrid Interdigitated Back Contact Solar Cells Project as at September 2021.

System security and reliability

This report analyses the insights and key themes from ARENA’s $9.4 million Short Term Forecasting Round.

Wind Energy

This report outlines lessons that Meridian Energy Australia and the University of Melbourne have learnt regarding market modelling, LIDAR data analysis, and forecasting at the Mt. Millar wind farm in South Australia.

This is the third Lessons Learnt Report for Diffuse Energy’s Resilient Wind Energy for Telecommunications Sites Project. This report discusses the lessons learnt and challenges faced resulting from COVID restrictions.

Australian Government | Australian Renewable Energy Agency | ARENA
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