SA Power Networks (SAPN)

Project management for a future of clean energy.

Energy and Resources
  • Project / program management

SAPN is a key player in South Australia’s energy industry as the state’s sole electricity distributor. They build, maintain and upgrade the poles, wires and substations that deliver power to around 900,000 homes and businesses. They are committed to reducing their impact on the environment where they can. They are proactive in engaging with various stakeholders to help them reduce their carbon footprint and promote sustainability. 

The challenge

With the rapid uptake of solar in South Australian households the ability of the network to safely deal with the large increase energy being exported into the grid and to support further growth in solar was being challenged.  

 Whilst the grid was at capacity at certain times it was under-utilised for most of the time, lacked the ability to be managed effectively for these scenarios, and had limited benefits to customers and to the State. 

ARENA (Australian Renewable Agency) approved project funding to trial a world first solution to enable flexible exports of solar energy based on a determination of the network capacity at any time.  

SAPN was challenged with expediting the trial and the introduction of a new dynamic exports-based service to SA in response to the energy system security challenges being posed by the oversupply of solar energy at certain times of the year.  

The approach


    The approved program involved a partnership with a Victorian based DNSP, 3 inverter technology providers and an Australian technology developer.


    Based within SAPN’s Network Strategy Department, the highly complex initiative called for an agile, adaptive leadership & delivery approach, collaborating across multiple internal business and technology groups, and engaging in depth with a range of external industry representative groups and businesses. 



    Delivery of the trial involved a program comprising several functional streams including architecture & implementation, external stakeholder engagement, business change & program management.  

    The outcome

    The program successfully achieved its objectives with SAPN & ARENA including 

    • Collaborating with program partners in meeting all program milestones 
    • Navigating disruptive industry and regulatory developments and significant global supply challenges with technology partners 
    • A public trial for up to 300 customers across SA and Victoria 
    • Lessons learned reports were created for public and industry consumption & published on ARENA’s website 
    • Change management engagement with internal stakeholders to support the trial and prepare for a roll-out of the new service 

    The learnings from the trial have led to the planned roll-out of the new Flexible Exports Service in South Australia much sooner than would have been otherwise possible and supported the development of similar emerging services in other States. 

    “Escient’s experience and approach were invaluable in helping us achieve the outcomes, we couldn’t have done it without them”

    Alex Ward, Future Networks Program Manager

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