Weather-reliant generators such as large scale solar and wind farms will be prevented from turning down or off without informing the electricity market operator under a final rule to bolster system security. 

The final rule is in response to a rule change proposed by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) and developed following a request from the former Council of Australian Governments Energy Council to develop rule changes for semi-scheduled generators to improve their functioning within the national electricity market (NEM).This final rule acts on one of the Energy Security Board’s recommended interim security measures, which aim to improve visibility of and confidence in system security services while new market arrangements are being developed through the post 2025 market design work. 

Semi-scheduled generators include wind and solar plants that are reliant on weather conditions to operate. The amount of semi-scheduled generation has risen rapidly in recent years. It now accounts for a sizeable share of generating capacity in the NEM and is forecast to rise much further still.  

The Commission’s final determination will address risks to system security and market efficiency from semi-scheduled generators turning down or off without informing the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO). The final rule does this by requiring semi-scheduled generators to meet a dispatch level, or cap, for how many megawatts of electricity they produce subject to variations in their natural resource (such as the sun or wind). 

The Commission’s rule change has the effect of requiring semi-scheduled generators to follow their available resource except when AEMO decides there should be a semi-dispatch interval, when output should be limited to the cap specified by AEMO. This could happen because of a network constraint that limits the dispatch of electricity or because it is uneconomic to dispatch a semi-scheduled generator given to the generator’s electricity market offers. 

The AER’s rule change request was fast tracked. This allows the AEMC to proceed directly to publishing a draft determination and draft rule. The AEMC decided to fast track this rule change in recognition of the significant and extensive consultation by the AER in developing the rule change request. 

The National Electricity Rules allow the AEMC to fast track a rule change submitted by another electricity market body when the market body, in this case the AER, has consulted with the public on the nature and content of the request before making that request. 

Media: Kellie Bisset, Media and Content Manager, 0438 490 041