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Integrating Utility scale Renewables and Distributed Energy Resources in the SWIS

AEMO has undertaken analysis in a report entitled Integrating Utility scale Renewables and Distributed Energy Resources in the SWIS to highlight the challenges to system security due to the expected continued growth of utility scale renewables and distributed energy resources (DER) under a no change to regulation or market constructs scenario. However, the report outlines the means by which these challenges can be addressed such that the significant potential for the benefits of utility scale renewables and DER can be realised.

The primary case made by the report is:

1. Without changes to accommodate new technologies, voltage in the SWIS cannot be controlled within technical limits as the level of minimum power system operational demand approaches the present critical level of 700 MW. AEMO’s current forecasts of rooftop PV DER growth indicate that minimum operational demand will reach 700 MW between 2022 and 2024, depending on the PV DER installation rate and load growth and taking into account day-to-day variability in weather and load conditions.

2. System security risks are emerging now as the increase in large-scale renewable generation and DER displaces the dispatchable thermal generators that presently provide all system security services such as inertia, frequency control, system strength, and voltage control.

3. Technical standards and regulatory and market constructs require carefully designed but urgent change, to implement or incentivise new technologies in the SWIS such as synchronous compensation, energy storage, and increased inverter capabilities. These changes will support the management of power system security and effectively integrate renewable generation and DER in a way that facilitates efficient utilisation of existing and future electricity sources.

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