Energy operator wants to remotely switch off rooftop solar systems amid ‘uncontrolled growth’

Australia’s electricity grid operator wants the power to remotely switch off or constrain the output of new rooftop solar systems, as it finds ways to manage South Australia’s world-leading levels of “invisible and uncontrolled” solar output.

Other states and territories will be encouraged to adopt a similar approach.

While the use of batteries might help the market operator avoid powering down household rooftop systems, it describes the ability to remotely control panels as an essential “back-stop”.

AEMO’s managing director Audrey Ziebelman says the study makes clear that the current approaches used to manage the electricity market are becoming less effective as the grid continues its transformation to world-leading levels of renewable generation.

“Australia already has the technical capability to safely operate a power system where three quarters of our energy at times comes from wind and solar energy generation,” Ms Ziebelman said.

“However, to do so requires changes in our markets and regulatory requirements, otherwise, AEMO will be required to limit the contribution of these wind and solar resources to 50 or 60 per cent of electricity supply at any point in time, even though they are the lowest cost way of providing electricity.”

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