The Australian Energy Market Commission has asked the market operator, AEMO, and TransGrid for detailed information about future congestion on the national transmission network and plans to upgrade the Queensland-NSW interconnector. 

Every year the AEMC releases a report on whether or not there is sufficient investment planned to transport electricity across regional boundaries in the national electricity market.

We have requested: 

  • clarification from Transgrid on how it intends to address the inter-regional constraints on the Queensland-NSW interconnector, as well as the timing for the processes to address those constraints
  • confirmation from AEMO, in its role as national transmission planner, of the inter-regional transmission constraints which it believes need to be addressed.

This information will help us determine if inter-regional constraints in the system are being adequately addressed.

As part of this year’s assessment process the AEMC has reviewed AEMO’s 2016 national transmission network development plan and its 2018 integrated system plan (ISP), along with 2018 transmission annual planning reports. While the ISP responds to a Finkel Panel recommendation for an integrated grid plan, it contains less detailed information on expected network congestion.

Once we receive the additional information we need, the AEMC will make a decision on whether there is a need for us to exercise the last resort planning power.

What is the last resort planning power (LRPP)?

The last resort planning power is an oversight mechanism conferred on the Commission to complement the planning roles of transmission businesses and AEMO.

Transmission networks allow power to flow across different regions in the national electricity market. Using information provided by AEMO and transmission businesses, the AEMC undertakes a review each year of the level of congestion on the network and whether transmission businesses are doing enough to address any problems with the transportation of power between regions across the national electricity market. 

If the AEMC finds there is a gap, we can exercise the LRPP. This power enables the AEMC to direct a network business to undertake a regulatory investment test for transmission (RIT-T) which weighs up the costs and benefits of projects to reduce network congestion.

Projects might include upgrading transmission lines to increase their capacity, installing new transformers so more power can flow through existing lines, or non-network solutions such as battery storage to help manage peak flows on the network.

Media: Prudence Anderson, Communication Director, 0404 821 935 or (02) 8296 7817