The AEMC has published discussion notes from the first meeting of the technical working group which is helping to inform the development new mechanisms for enhancing power system resilience. 

Members of the group, which met in Melbourne last week, include experts from AEMO, AER, Clean Energy Council, Australian Energy Council, Energy Networks Australia, SA Power Networks, ElectraNet, the South Australian Department of Mines and Energy, and consumer representatives.

AEMC staff presented the Commission’s emerging thinking on how to deal with new risks as the power system transitions. As set out in our discussion paper published last week, these risks are due to fundamental changes in the nature of electricity supply and demand, including the influx of variable renewable generation, ageing thermal infrastructure and the rapid growth in consumer-owned distributed energy resources.

The group discussed a broad range of issues including how increased uncertainty may impact the secure operation of the system, how best to deal with high impact, low probability (HILP) events, and the potential monitoring of interconnector flows.

The group provided useful feedback including the need to consider:

  • whether existing frameworks may already be sufficient to manage emerging risks, by more clearly describing and assessing what risks can be accounted for under existing arrangements
  • the full range of future uncertainty and risks, in addition to risks associated with weather variation
  • a greater focus on the impact of distributed energy resources, including how to manage the security impacts of increased DER penetration through better control of DER at the distribution level
  • issues related to the management of control and protection schemes, including ways to better coordinate these schemes.

Submissions on the AEMC’s discussion paper are due by 6 September 2019.  A draft report is due to be published in late September 2019.

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

Review of system black event in South Australia of 28 September 2016

This work is part of the AEMC’s Review of the system black event in South Australia.

COAG Energy Council’s terms of reference for the review require the Commission to draw upon AEMO and AER’s findings into the black system event. With the publication of both the AEMO incident report (in March 2017) and the AER pre- and post-event compliance report (in December 2018) the Commission started its review in April 2019 as required by COAG Energy Council.

The AEMC is considering systemic issues arising from the South Australian black system event including:

  • contingency classification and the pre-event management of risks to power system security
  • system restoration following the black system event
  • market suspension, and
  • arrangements to enhance power system resilience to high impact low probability events.  

In considering these issues, the AEMC is taking a forward-looking approach: we will use the learnings of the system black event to identify least-cost ways of managing the risks of a changing power system. The goal of the review is to reduce the risk of another black system event occurring again in future.

On 7 August 2019 the AER commenced legal proceedings in respect of market participant compliance during the black system event period. As legal proceedings are currently underway, the Commission is not considering specific issues arising during the period between the loss of the transmission lines in South Australia's mid north and the occurrence of the black system condition. The review is only looking at specific matters in respect of the pre- and post-stages of the event.