About the West Murray zone - FAQs
Q: Where is the West Murray zone?
The West Murray zone includes sections of the electricity transmission and distribution networks located in north-west Victoria and south-west NSW, bounded by Ballarat, Dederang, and Darlington Point. Please click here to access the West Murray map.
Q: Who operates the electricity network in the West Murray zone and what are their roles in connecting new generation?
Within the West Murray zone, Powercor and AusNet Services are the electricity distribution companies in the Victorian region and Essential Energy in NSW. AusNet Services is the main transmission network owner and operator in Victoria and TransGrid in NSW.
As the service provider for the shared transmission network in Victoria, AEMO is responsible for managing the process for connecting generation to the high voltage network. TransGrid performs this role for transmission in NSW and the distribution businesses manage connections to their own networks. AEMO is also the Victorian transmission planner, using available information from infrastructure owners, investors and demand trends to identify when and where new transmission network infrastructure should be built. With some limited exceptions, assessments must be based on an economic business case where benefits exceed development costs.
Across the NEM, AEMO’s role as market and system operator involves assessing standards and remediation proposals for connecting plant that could affect power system security. AEMO has advisory and approval functions at various stages of the connection, registration and commissioning process in all regions.
Q: What is AEMO's role with generators wanting to connect in Victoria?
Following the privatisation of Victoria’s electricity sector (generation through to retail) in the 1990s, the role of transmission planner has been managed by an independent authority, initially the Victorian Energy Networks Corporation (VENCorp) and then AEMO from 2009.
As Victoria’s transmission network planner, AEMO is responsible for the planning of the Victorian transmission network. AEMO uses available information from infrastructure owners, investors and demand trends to make decisions on when and where new transmission network infrastructure should be built, or services obtained to support the network. Most significant investments must satisfy an economic business case where benefits must exceed development costs.
Where AEMO assesses that transmission network or non-network development is needed and economically justified, augmentation projects may be competitively tendered if they can be owned and operated independently of existing network infrastructure.
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Q: Has there been a substantial change in new generation sources in the West Murray zone in the last few years?
This area has seen a substantial increase in inverter-based generation, mostly grid-scale solar farms particularly in the last three years.
As at April 2021, there are 2,123 MW of installed wind and solar generation and 1,570 MW at various stages of commissioning in the West Murray zone and approximately 2700 MW in the application phase.
There are no significant conventional synchronous generators in the West Murray zone or for several hundred kilometres.