The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) welcomes the Western Australian (WA) Government’s announcement to better manage rooftop solar in the South West Interconnected System (SWIS), to enable the growth of renewable energy and ensure power system resiliency.
This supports AEMO’s priority recommendation in the Renewables Integration Paper – SWIS Update, to help manage power system security and reliability during emergency operational conditions as a measure of last resort to prevent widespread power interruptions.
Already, total renewable generation is meeting up to 70% of total energy demand in the SWIS, 64% by rooftop solar, in particular time intervals. AEMO expects this to continue growing with installed rooftop solar capacity to virtually double in the next decade.
During daylight hours, with clear sky conditions, rooftop solar is the largest single generator in the SWIS. Fortunately, the grid can handle this. However, on rare occasions when there is extremely high roof-top solar generation and low electricity usage, there can be a risk to the secure and reliable supply of electricity, particularly if there are other contingency events.
Commencing mid-February all new and upgraded rooftop solar and battery installations with inverter capacity of 5kW or less will need to be capable of being remotely turned down or switched off in emergency situations.
AEMO Executive General Manager in WA, Cameron Parrotte, said: “It is important to note that this measure is to be used as a backstop capability only.”
“AEMO has access to a range of tools to help us forecast future system conditions and manage challenging operational conditions, such as low load events. These include reducing large-scale generation, procuring additional essential system services to ensure the system can be operated at a lower load level and coordinating with Western Power to manage voltages on the network,” said Mr Parrotte.
AEMO will continue to work with the WA Government and industry on a range of initiatives, including the WA Government's comprehensive Energy Transformation Strategy, to ensure the power system continues to operate securely and cost-effectively for all Western Australians.
To find out more about this initiative, please visit Energy Policy WA’s website.