Large scale renewables and generation

An embedded generating system (such as solar) is one that is connected to a distribution network rather than connected to the high-voltage transmission network.

Embedded generating systems vary in type and size from a typical 1 kW domestic solar photovoltaic (PV) unit to a 50 MW wind farm, and may include, among other things, the following technologies:

  • Solar PV cells
  • Bagasse (the fibrous material left-over from crushed sugar cane)
  • Wind turbines
  • Thermal
  • Hydro.

The process of connecting an embedded generator to the distribution network is regulated by the National Electricity Rules (NER).

We have several connection processes, depending on the relevant rule applying to the classification, size of your proposed system and whether it is intended to allow the export of electricity back into our distribution network (exporting) or not (non-exporting). Read more below.

Consultation on draft Standards

Ergon Energy and Energex are developing joint Standards for the connection of embedded generating systems above 30 kW and up to 5 MW.  The joint drafts are due in December with the final Standards due for release in early 2017.

We would appreciate feedback from industry and stakeholders on our Consultation Paper (PDF 329.0 kb). You can make your submissions at ies.tech.enquires@ergon.com.au until Monday 28th November.

Your feedback on our proposed Standards framework will help us with our revision of the Standards.

Generator registration with the AEMO

Under the NER, any person who owns, controls or operates a generating system connected to a distribution network, must register as a generator with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), except where they meet the exemption criteria.

For information on the AEMO generation registration requirements and participant categories in the National Electricity Market, please see AEMO’s website and relevant guidelines.

We understand that the determination of automatic exemption can be complicated. For simplicity reasons, we have used the 5 MW benchmark as this is the most common differentiator (based on AEMO’s standing exemption for certain small generating units under 5 MW).

Generation up to 30 kVA

Generating systems up to 30 kVA are generally referred to as mini or micro embedded generating (micro EG) units. To connect a micro EG unit up to 30 kVA, please refer to the relevant sections on our Business connections webpage, or call 1300 553 924 (Mon to Fri, 8am - 5pm).

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Non-exporting embedded generating systems 30 kVA and above

Non-exporting embedded generating systems are those which we don't permit to export their excess electricity to our distribution network.

A non-exporting embedded generation system can include connection via an Inverter Energy System (IES) installation with a renewable energy source, such as solar panels, or via a rotating machine installation, such as diesel generators.

It can assist in the event of emergency outages, supply interruptions or, to help manage your demand on our network during peak energy use times.

If you wish to submit an application to connect a non-export embedded generating system, please complete the Non-Export Embedded Generation Application Form. (PDF 139.5 kb) and provide the required documentation as listed in the form.

These applications are often made by your system retailer or installer, but as the electricity account holder, you'll still need to give your consent.

The Standard for Connection of Embedded Generators in the Ergon Energy Distribution Network (PDF 880.5 kb) outlines the requirements for embedded synchronous generators and inverter-based systems with a total nameplate rating of up to, but not exceeding, 5,000 kW at a single connection point. It also provides information about your rights and obligations when connecting to, and interfacing with, our network.

Exporting embedded generating systems

Exporting embedded generating systems are designed to export their excess electricity to our distribution network.

These generating systems vary as to the source of their generation. Common types include solar, landfill generation, diesel generation used for back up supply and bagasse (the fibrous material left over from crushed sugar cane).

Exporting 30 kVA - 5,000 kW

This process aligns with Chapter 5 of the National Electricity Rules (NER) and applies to all embedded generator proponents whose generating systems benefit from the standing exemption from registration with AEMO (which generally applies to generating systems up to 5,000 kW).

Further information on the process to connect is available in the Embedded Generation Information Pack (PDF 4.4 mb).  These are the documents you will need:

The Standard for Connection of Embedded Generators in the Ergon Energy Distribution Network (PDF 880.5 kb) outlines the requirements for embedded synchronous generators and inverter-based systems with a total nameplate rating of up to, but not exceeding, 5,000 kW at a single connection point. It also provides information about your rights and obligations when connecting to, and interfacing with, our network.

Exporting 5,000 kW and above

This process aligns with Chapter 5 of the National Electricity Rules (NER) and applies to:

  • All embedded generator proponents whose generating systems do not benefit from the standing exemption from registration with AEMO (which generally applies to generating systems up to 5,000 kW)
  • Generating systems under 5,000 kW where the proponent has elected to be processed under Chapter 5.

Further information on the process to connect is available in the Embedded Generation Information Pack (PDF 4.4 mb). These are the documents you will need:

Important information

Anyone who intends to operate more than 30 MW of generation capacity and connect it to a distribution or transmission network in Queensland, must first hold a generation authority or special approval. This authority is issued by the Department of Energy and Water Supply (DEWS).

A failure to hold such an authorisation is an offence under the Electricity Act 1994 (Qld).

If you are proposing to operate more than 30 MW of generation capacity at a site and connect it to a network, we strongly suggest that you contact DEWS early in your planning process.  This will allow for the application to be made to the Director General, considered and approved before the proposed connection. The process can typically take four months from application.

You can contact DEWS via email to discuss licensing requirements and the application process.

Reference documents for embedded generators

Please also refer to the Major Customer Connections Manuals and Fact Sheets.

Documents Published
Embedded Generation Information Pack (PDF File, 4.4 MB) 29 Aug 2016
Large Scale Embedded Generation 5 MW and above Standard (PDF File, 999.0 KB) 1 Oct 2014
STNW1165 - Standard for Connection of Embedded Generators (PDF File, 880.5 KB) 18 Aug 2016
Embedded Generation Register of Completed Projects (PDF File, 623.9 KB) 29 Jun 2016

Model connection agreements

To establish or modify a generation connection to our distribution system, we require you to enter into a Negotiated Connection Establishment Contract (we refer to this as the Construction Contract). This sets out the works that both parties will need to perform for the connection.

In addition, due to the nature of your facility, we expect that you will also enter into a separate Negotiated Ongoing Connection Contract (we refer to this as the Connection Agreement). This governs the ongoing connection of your facility to our distribution system after the completion of the works (rather than rely upon the Deemed Standard Connection Contract that applies by default under legislation).

The relevant template contracts model agreements for an exporting generation connection are:

Get in touch

Do you have a specific question about connecting an embedded generator?

If so, please contact our Major Customer Connections Group at majorconnections@ergon.com.au, or speak to our representative on (07) 3851 6177.

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