The Australian Energy Market Commission is seeking stakeholder comments on two options being considered to rationalise the existing requirements on electricity generators to specify the minimum rates at which they may increase or decrease electricity output, referred to as ’ramp rates’.

These options have been developed in light of issues raised by stakeholders regarding the practical implementation of a more preferable draft rule previously made by the Commission in response to the generator ramp rates and dispatch inflexibility in bidding rule change request.

Under the current rules, generators must submit a minimum ramp rate of 3 MW per minute, or 3 per cent of maximum capacity for generators below 100 MW, except where it can be demonstrated that a lower ramp rate is required for technical or safety reasons.

The Australian Energy Regulator proposed a new requirement in its rule change request for generator ramp rates and dispatch inflexibility profiles to reflect the technical capabilities of generating plant.

The more preferable draft rule proposed that ramp rates provided by generators should be at least one per cent of maximum generation capacity per minute, regardless of generator size, plant configuration or technology type, thereby promoting improved wholesale market outcomes by allowing the Australian Energy Market Operator to more efficiently manage the secure operation of the electricity system.

On the whole, submissions were supportive of the Commission’s more preferable draft rule in principle, however some stakeholders provided evidence that compliance with the new requirements may not be practicable for specific generators.

In light of these concerns, the Commission has developed two further options which address the issues raised, while still better meeting the Commission's objectives for ramp rate requirements that can be applied more consistently and proportionately than the current rules.

The Commission will assess stakeholder feedback on these options alongside the proposed rule and the more preferable draft rule, and against the possibility of not making a rule, which is always an option open to the Commission.

Submissions on the options paper will close on Thursday 5 February 2015.