Widespread bushfires, extreme weather events and record low demand contributed to extremely difficult operating conditions for Victoria’s energy transmission network in 2019-20, according to the Victorian Annual Planning Report (VAPR) released today by the Australia Energy Market Operator (AEMO).
The 2020 VAPR builds on AEMO’s Integrated System Plan (ISP) and assesses the capability, performance and adequacy of the state’s transmission network – the Declared Shared Network (DSN) – to meet Victoria’s energy reliability and security needs over the next 10 years.
The report highlights that while the DSN remained secure under typical operating conditions, the operational landscape in Victoria is increasingly complex. Strong investment in large-scale renewable generation projects and distributed photovoltaic (PV) are impacting the stability and complexity of power system operations, including record minimum demand levels.
AEMO Managing Director and CEO Audrey Zibelman said: “We are seeing record levels of investment in new large-scale renewable energy generation, with AEMO having connected more generators in Victoria over the period than in any other NEM state, or than in any previous reporting period.
“Victoria now has approximately 7.8 gigawatt (GW) of existing or committed wind and solar generation, and 2.9 GW of this is distributed PV. Since last year’s report, there has been a 1.6 GW increase in large-scale wind and solar projects connected or commenced commissioning,” she said.
The VAPR outlines a suite of committed and future network development projects to address changing network needs, captured in AEMO’s ‘Transmission Roadmap for Victoria’.
“AEMO is progressing $3.5 billion of network development projects over the next decade, to address system challenges, maintain supply reliability and system security, and meet government policy objectives,” said Ms Zibelman.
“Milestone projects on the roadmap include the Victoria to NSW interconnector (VNI), improved voltage control and the expansion of renewable energy zone (REZ) projects to promote planned investment in high-quality generation areas.
“These investments will reduce overall costs to consumers by enhancing competition, unlocking lower-cost generation supplies, and improving the efficiency of resource sharing between regions,” she said.
The VAPR provides an opportunity for a comprehensive scan of Victoria’s power system to proactively identify and assess future limitations and inform stakeholder decision-making.
“The 2020 report outlines how AEMO will adapt its regional planning processes to match Victoria’s changing needs,” said Ms Zibelman.
“AEMO will work with the Victorian Government to develop a REZ Development Plan (RDP) that will map out how alternative patterns of generation might impact the optimal development of transmission in the state – considering network projects that might best support areas of high developer interest.
“AEMO will also deliver a connections uplift program with a strong emphasis on transparent processes, common methodologies, novel technology solutions, improved project tracking, and enhanced modelling capabilities to manage the volume and complexity of new connections,” she said.