The Australian Energy Market Commission today started public consultation on its work program to review power system security in the National Electricity Market.

For some time now the market has been integrating new sources of electricity like wind and solar at the same time as we are seeing coal-fired generators exit.

New technologies have technical characteristics that differ from the plant they are replacing. The impact of non-synchronous generation, including renewables, on how the system is maintained in a secure state will be an important focus in the coming years.

In July 2016 the Commission initiated a review into system security.

We have also received a number of rule change requests on aspects of power system security that will be considered concurrently and in co-ordination with the review.

We are working with our stakeholders and the Australian Energy Market Operator to develop a comprehensive set of potential solutions that take into consideration issues raised by consultation across the system security work program.

Two consultation papers were released today. Stakeholders are invited to provide comment on these papers and submissions should be received by 13 October 2016.

  • System Security Market Frameworks Review and related rule requests

This consultation paper sets out the AEMC's proposed approach, describes the current and potential future issues related to power system security in the NEM, and identifies a number of questions to facilitate the consultation process.

Three rule requests are also addressed by this consultation paper:

The South Australian Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy and AGL have both submitted rule change requests proposing the introduction of new mechanisms to procure additional system security services to support power system frequency.

The South Australian Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy has also submitted a rule change request to address reductions in system strength.

  • Emergency under frequency control schemes and emergency over frequency control schemes

Emergency frequency control schemes protect the power system following a major disturbance, such as the failure of a large generator. These schemes shed load or generation in a controlled and coordinated manner in order to prevent major blackouts. They are essential to maintaining a secure and reliable supply of electricity for consumers.

This consultation paper identifies some market changes relevant to emergency frequency control schemes, including changes in the generation mix and the entry of more distributed rooftop PV. These developments may require emergency frequency control schemes to be adapted so they can continue to maintain the security of the power system and enable a reliable supply of electricity for consumers.