Power security plan confirms vital role of transmission

Australia’s transmission networks have welcomed reforms to ensure clear roles for power system security in a changing electricity system.

The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) released the Final Report of its System Security Market Frameworks Review last week.

It recommended transmission businesses be required to maintain minimum levels of ‘inertia’, or other equivalent services, to provide power system security.

Energy Networks Australia chief executive officer John Bradley said transmission networks were ready to ‘step up’ to new challenges in maintaining system inertia and system strength as the generation mix changes.

“Transmission businesses are ready to extend their current role supporting system security by using their own resources and also buying services from the market if required,” Mr Bradley said.

“The Finkel report highlighted the need to modernise these rules and to be clear about the accountability and roles of each party, so system security can’t ‘fall between the stools’.”

Mr Bradley said future closures of synchronous generation made it vital to anticipate, and carefully manage, impacts on frequency and system strength in Australia’s power system.

“The loss of synchronous generation can make it harder to keep the system stable in frequency disturbances or reduce the strength of the system to manage fault events,” Mr Bradley said.

“Under the reforms, transmission networks would be responsible for ensuring inertia and system strength, and the report confirms they have strong incentives to minimise the costs of doing so.”

Mr Bradley warned it was only a matter of time before similar system security challenges on the high voltage transmission network would need to be managed in distribution networks also.

Energy Users’ Association of Australia (EUAA) chief executive officer Andrew Richards said the proposed rule changes are a critical step on the path to system security and reliability.

“As we move away from our traditional generation base to one that includes a higher percentage of variable generation, the need to ensure reliability and system security is critical,” Mr Richards said.

“The proposed rule changes recognise and respond to what is taking place in energy markets and provides the foundations that will enable us to use existing generation differently, avoiding the need to build infrastructure that may become obsolete.”