AEMO exposes 'once-in-a-century' roadmap for NEM's energy change, asks for AU$ 12bn in grid investment

Jul 1, 2022 02:30 PM ET
  • The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has actually disclosed its 2022 Integrated System Plan (ISP), outlining a 30-year roadmap that stories the transition to net-zero as well as recognizes upcoming investments in the National Electricity Market (NEM), which covers the heavily populated south and also eastern of the nation.
AEMO exposes 'once-in-a-century' roadmap for NEM's energy change, asks for AU$ 12bn in grid investment
Image: Sunpower

AEMO billed the roadmap as a "once-in-a-century change in the way electricity is created and also eaten" in the area using replacing "tradition properties with low-cost renewables, add energy storage as well as other new forms of firming capacity and also reconfigure the grid to sustain two-way energy flow".

AEMO worked together with 1,500 stakeholders-- consisting of policy manufacturers, federal governments, consumers as well as energy sector representatives-- to inform its policy, with contributors concurring the most likely scenario was to be the 'Step Change' one, under which renewables will certainly produce 83% of NEM energy by 2030-31.

It comes with a rough time for Australia's energy market which on 15 June put on hold the nation's wholesale power market after a collapse in generation provided the spot market difficult to run dependably. The suspension has actually given that been lifted yet the anticipated spot price for tomorrow (1 July) in the spot market is anticipated to be upwards of AU$ 650/MWh, according to AEMO data.

In its 104-page ISP, AEMO said international energy market volatility as well as supply chain turmoil has actually caused high domestic gas costs, causing rate caps in the gas and electricity spot markets as well as "an extraordinary degree of market treatment by AEMO".

" These events just verify energy safety and security as a motorist of the improvement, and also the capacity for firmed renewables to secure customers from worldwide commodity shocks," stated AEMO.

The report asks for AU$ 12 billion investment in NEM's grid framework to accommodate a massive development in renewable generation, a significant build out of energy storage systems, widespread market reform, prompt action on vital policy areas and financial investment in skills and training.

Optimal development path requires significant financial investment

In order to support the NEM's makeover in the direction of web zero emissions, the ISP said financial investment was needed to meet considerable increased need from residences, services as well as transportation, which will call for a nine-fold rise in utility-scale solar and wind capacity and also a close to five-fold rise in distributed solar PV.

Investment is additionally needed to treble the firming capacity from alternative sources to coal that can react to a send off signal, consisting of utility-scale batteries, hydro storage, gas-fired generation as well as smart behind-the-meter online power plants (VPPs).

Markets and also networks will additionally require to be adjusted for two-way electricity flow, leveraging AEMO's Engineering Framework to prepare the power system for 100% immediate penetration of renewables, while NEM will need to install greater than 10,000 km of new transmission lines to connect generators as well as users.

It likewise recognised the demand for "significant financial investment in the human and also social funding needed to deliver the designated consumer advantages and also protect the NEM's future".

A dual improvement

NEM's 'double makeover' comprises an electrification of the economic situation while switching over to firmed renewables, said AEMO. The ISP calls for development possibilities in the Optimal Development Path (ODP) that would assist the NEM in catering for:

  • Nearly double the electricity provided to roughly 320TWh per year along with considerable recurring investment by customers in dispersed energy and energy effectiveness along with the potential growth in environment-friendly hydrogen manufacturing.
  • Virtually five times the distributed PV capacity and considerable development in dispersed storage space. Already, 30% of separated homes in the NEM have roof PV yet, by 2032, over half of the homes in the NEM are most likely to do so, rising to 65% with 69GW capacity by 2050.
  • 9 times the utility-scale variable renewable resource capacity, with much of this being built in renewable energy zones (REZs) that coordinate network and renewable financial investment.
  • Coal-fired generation taking out faster than introduced, with 60% of capacity taken out by 2030.

In its forecast NEM capacity to 2050 under its Step Change scenario, AEMO anticipates utility-scale and also dispersed solar to provide about 50GW of power by 2030 and close to 150GW by 2050 (see chart).

Forecasted NEM capacity to 2050 under AEMO's Step Change scenario. Source: AEMO.

" As coal-fired generation withdraws and also weather-dependent generation begins to dominate, the NEM should successfully match when and also where electricity is generated," stated AEMO, including "investment is required to treble the firming capacity supplied by new low-emission firming alternatives that can respond to a dispatch signal".

Part of this would be a huge expansion in energy storage, getting to 46GW/640GWh by 2050, along with 7GW of existing hydro generation, both storage and run-of-river types, and also 10GW of gas-fired generation for peak loads and also firming.

Market reforms and two-way electricity flow

Resolving transmission with the NEM will additionally be important to its ability to change to clean power as well as reach its climate objectives, while making sound financial feeling. The transmission projects within the ODP are anticipated to deliver scenario-weighted net market advantages of AU$ 28 billion, returning around 2.2 times their cost of approximately AU$ 12.7 billion, according to AEMO, including "all of the transmission projects in the ODP are needed".

" These transmission projects are forecast to provide $28 billion in net market benefits, returning 2.2 times their price of $12.7 billion, which stands for simply 7% of the overall generation, storage and network financial investment in the NEM," claimed AEMO CEO, Daniel Westerman.

Power systems on this range are made much more complex by the needs of two-way electricity flow, AEMO kept in mind. It claimed considerable market as well as technological reforms were underway, such as the 5 min negotiation and also wholesale demand feedback, in the NEM to handle a safe and secure and efficient makeover to a low-emissions grid.

Future reforms, on the other hand, consist of a capacity mechanism to develop a clear lasting signal for investment in both existing and new dispatchable capacity, essential system services to deliver a number of campaigns to maintain the system's protected procedure and also unlock worth for consumers, DER Integration right into the system, transmission reform and also congestion administration.

Concern action key to ISP success

" It is imperative that the actionable projects should begin on time, and also be established efficiently to the recommended timetables," claimed the report.

There are a range of urgent initiatives required to support the ISP's prompt application, according to AEMO, including changes to the regulatory framework, economic mechanisms to much better align benefits with costs as well as the timing of their charge, federal government investment, underwriting or money and improved recognition of the influence on landholders as well as communities holding the infrastructure.

In addition, it requires immediate action on 5 vital projects: HumeLink, VNI West, Marinus Link, Sydney Ring and New England REZ Transmission Link.

" The ISP will help sector individuals, capitalists, governments and also communities plan for the decarbonisation of the power system to supply inexpensive, firmed renewable electricity with dependability as well as safety and security," claimed Westerman, including it will "aid meet state and nationwide climate targets, and also contribute to financial growth with low-cost, trustworthy energy."

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