Updated connections scorecard shows large pipeline of projects proceeding to registration

3 min

AEMO has today published an updated monthly scorecard of generation and storage projects working through the National Electricity Market (NEM) connection process.

The scorecard is produced through AEMO’s work with market participants, as well as transmission and distribution network service providers (NSP) involved in the comprehensive ‘application to full-generation output’ connection process.

AEMO Onboarding & Connections Group Manager, Margarida Pimentel, said that the enhanced scorecard provides project tracking through the connections process, but also adds key insights and trends over time.

“In the next decade, two-thirds of today’s coal power stations are expected to retire, requiring urgent investment in generation, storage and transmission projects to meet consumers’ electricity needs,” Ms Pimentel said.

“As we work with industry to navigate Australia’s energy transition, AEMO is committed to ensuring our role in the connection process is responsive, efficient and predictable for market participants.

“The expanded monthly connections scorecard gives participants a new level of useful project details, providing a much broader view for their connection activities,” she said.

The scorecard lists detailed project information by connection stage, broken down by technology type, region and average time within each stage. Please read our connections overview to better understand each stage reported in the connection scorecard.

Key insights from the month of October 2023, include:

  • 620 megawatts (MW) received application approval, bringing the financial year to date (FYTD) total to 1,560 MW
  • 320 MW completed registration (FYTD total 1,200 MW)
  • 630 MW was released to operate at full output (FYTD total 1,430 MW)

“The scorecard shows that we’re expecting a major influx of generation and storage capacity, with 90% of all new generation and storage projects currently in the application and pre-registration stages. This represents 149 projects totalling 31,000 MW, equal to half of the NEM’s total generation capacity,” Ms Pimentel said.

Of note is the large year-on-year increase in battery project applications, up from 14 projects (1,860 MW) to 22 projects (5,100 MW).

There are 69 projects (11,000 MW) in pre-registration stage, having received application approval and now ready to proceed to detailed design and contracts. Out of these, 39 projects (6,830 MW) have progressed further by signing a connection agreement with the NSP (a level of financial commitment) and are ready for construction.

“By engaging early to understand key locational considerations and gaining early feedback on their design, some projects are now getting their important technical standards approval in just one-third of the time that it used to take,” Ms Pimentel said.

“These projects also progress faster by being transparent about project milestones and constraints, and actively working with AEMO and NSPs to address project issues, which allows them to capitalise on pre-negotiated financing and construction arrangements,” she added.

Despite this, developers are facing a range of connection challenges, including a shortage of experienced resources, the need to refinance projects, long lead times for equipment, and the need to change original equipment manufacturers.

The scorecard shows that 25% of projects have been in the pre-registration stage for more than 2 years.

In addition to the revised scorecard, AEMO and the Clean Energy Council published an updated Connections Reform Roadmap, a key component of the Connections Reform Initiative (CRI), seeking to remove delays and deal with the increasing complexity in connections to the NEM.

As part of the roadmap, AEMO is leading a reform to codesign with industry a streamlined connection process, aiming to reconfigure the connection process to make it shorter, less complex, and more consistent with proponent commercial milestone requirements.

AEMO’s monthly NEM connection scorecards are available on its website.


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