The energy sector, both globally and locally in Australia, is experiencing comprehensive transformational changes.
This includes the unprecedented uptake of new technologies, such as asynchronous generators and storage, the need to replace ageing infrastructure, digitalisation of energy technologies and changing consumer energy preferences, to name a few.
As the independent market and system operator, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has an obligation to maintain a reliable, secure and affordable energy supply for Australian consumers as the system transitions. This includes understanding and preparing for the profound collective impact of these changes on the way we produce, transport and consume power in the future.
Over the last decade, the amount of renewable electricity generation connected to the electricity system has been increasing rapidly, driving an evolving energy supply mix and changing the operating characteristics of the system.
This transformation is forecast to continue, with AEMO’s 2018 Integrated System Plan (ISP) projecting that wind and solar generation could nearly double from 15 gigawatts in 2018-19 to more than 30 gigawatts by 2025-26.
In parallel with the ISP, AEMO is undertaking new technical research with Australian market participants to better understand the detailed technical implications of the significantly greater levels of renewable electricity generation in the National Electricity Market (NEM) expected by 2025.
The findings from AEMO’s Renewable Integration Study will improve the ISP’s ability to unlock the value of existing and new resources in the system, at the lowest cost, while also delivering energy reliably and security to consumers.
This study will specifically provide deep technical insights on:
- How to best manage solar and wind generation variability;
- How to maintain system security while shifting to decentralised generation sources; and
- What is required to replace services currently provided by synchronous generation.
In undertaking the study, AEMO will utilise insights from its Future Power System Security Program, Integrated System Plan and the Distributed Energy Resource (DER) program, along with Transmission Annual Planning Reports and international studies. AEMO will deliver the first phase of this work, which is mainly focused on identifying key technical issues and potential solutions, in early 2020.
The nine-month study will support AEMO’s ISP in providing a road map of recommendations to maintain a secure, reliable and affordable energy supply, to all Australian customers, now and into the future.
Following the release of the first phase, AEMO plans to build on this work in future to provide more detailed technical solutions to maintain the security of Australia’s energy system.