Smaller generators will not be scheduled in the national electricity market under a final determination from the Australian Energy Market Commission released today. 

However, the determination makes changes to the type of information the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) provides the market on whether to schedule or exempt generators.

This decision follows a request from the Australian Energy Council (AEC) to lower the threshold for scheduling generators to include 5-30MW generators. The request to change the rules was based on concerns that if there was a rapid increase in the number of smaller, largely renewable, generators this would challenge AEMO’s ability to efficiently manage the power system.

While the Commission recognises the challenges AEMO is facing forecasting and scheduling challenges, we did not find evidence to show that these smaller generators are causing them. Further, there are significant costs to connect and register a scheduled plant. These range from about $1.3-1.8million, with ongoing costs from $150,000 to $550,000 per year. This could represent a barrier to entry for smaller generators.

Work is also underway as part of the Energy Security Board’s (ESB’s) post 2025 market reforms to consider a voluntary ‘scheduled lite’ model for smaller generators as well as work to create a two-sided energy market: the valuable tools for AEMO’s management of non-scheduled generators

Today’s final determination also makes minor amendments to the rules to improve certainty and efficiency in the connection process and generator technical performance standards.

It clarifies the conditions under which AEMO must approve non-scheduled generating unit classifications and codifies what it already does in practice by requiring AEMO to update and publish an information resource and guidelines to assist participants. 

Visit the project page for more information and contact details.