AEMO developing simulation tool to facilitate grid connections for renewable energy

Large renewable projects like this present a major challenge for Australia’s grid, which is unable to handle half of the capacity of upcoming projects. Image: Octopus

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has invested in a cloud-based resource for developers that will make it easier and faster for renewable energy projects to connect to the grid through a AU$2.23 million investment.

With funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), the connection simulation tool will help reduce risks, costs and time to approve the connection of new projects by allowing developers to test how their power system models link to Australia’s National Electricity Market (NEM).  

Testing on the simulator will begin this month, with a phased roll out planned for the end of the year.

Australian Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor said: “This new technology will make it even easier for new generation projects to apply for and receive approvals by enabling renewable generators and network companies to work out how the new projects will impact the grid.

“The connections simulation tool will help reduce the costs and application times for developers, network service providers, consultants and AEMO, and support continued strong investment in renewables.” 

Since 2017, AEMO has connected 121 new projects to Australia’s grid but there are still 97GW of proposed projects still in the pipeline, with the NEM only able to accommodate half of this.

“Given the increasing portion of renewables with technically complex control systems, the operations simulator will enhance AEMO’s ability to prepare for and quickly respond to events threatening secure power-system operations,” said AEMO CEO Daniel Westerman.

In July, the newly appointed Westerman said he wanted the country’s grids to be capable of handling 100% renewables by 2025.

The organisation has also released a series of planning and forecasting publications that present five different visions of Australia’s and the NEM’s future.

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