In early 2021, AEMO and the Clean Energy Council (CEC) established the Connections Reform Initiative (CRI) to address concerns with delays and increasing complexity in connections to the National Electricity Market (NEM).
These complexities arise as the NEM is transforming with a greater penetration of inverter-based resources, a more diverse generation mix, and a more decentralised system.
The CRI has brought together a broad range of stakeholders to work on a range of solutions that address the systemic concerns involving all parties in the connection process.
Stakeholders involved include, CEC members (including generators, developers and original equipment manufacturers), network service providers (NSPs) and industry and market body representatives, including the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC), Australian Energy Regulator (AER) and the Energy Security Board (ESB).
Neil Gibbs (from Online Power) was appointed as an independent facilitator to bring structure, rigour, and objectivity to the process.
- Provide a connections process which is consistent, predictable and which delivers repeatable outcomes
- improve efficiency, including by reducing (eliminating) re-work, improving the quality coming into the process and addressing information asymmetry
- enable a collaborative working model between industry, AEMO and the NSPs
More than seven months of collaboration helped identify in excess of 100 potential improvements to the connections experience.
By exploring these, grouping them, refining them, and ultimately prioritising, the CRI Working Group recommended 11 reforms for either further detailed exploration, or in some cases direct implementation.
The Leadership Group endorsed the 11 reforms for implementation, as outlined in the Connections Reform Roadmap below.
Some reforms are already underway – Network Access, Collaboration, BESS behind existing connection points, and Guideline change management process.
These reforms are subject to:
- Finalisation of a Funding Mechanism –noting unanimous support for a compulsory fee on developers (fixed $/MW basis, over 3 years), and
- Detailed Planning and Scheduling to ensure the program is ‘do-able’ alongside BAU and other demands (i.e., resource constrained).
For more information, please contact the AEMO Stakeholder Relations team on firstname.lastname@example.org.