The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) Reliability Panel has commenced a review of the Frequency Operating Standard (FOS) that applies to the National electricity market. The issues paper and Terms of Reference have been published and stakeholders are encouraged to provide input. 

The FOS define the range of allowable frequency for the power system under different conditions, including normal operation as well as after events that occur that can impact the power system. 

The review will examine the appropriateness of the settings in light of the ongoing energy market transformation, as conventional synchronous generation is progressively replaced by inverter-based technologies such as wind, solar and batteries.

Power system frequency performance has improved following the implementation of the mandatory primary frequency response rule in late 2020. The improved performance has been observed as a narrowing of the distribution of frequency during normal operation, increasing the resilience of the power system to contingency events. Despite these recent improvements, the Panel recognises the opportunity to redefine and improve the way the FOS specifies the requirement for frequency performance during normal operation.

This review of the FOS is part of a broader program of regulatory reform relating to essential system services that progresses the Energy Security Board’s (ESB) recommendations in the post-2025 work. The work notes the need for reform is urgent as we lay the foundations for Australia’s new energy future, ensuring power system security by ‘strengthening the grid’.

The drivers for this review have been identified through related work undertaken by the AEMC and Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO). This includes the AEMC’s assessment of rule changes relating to frequency control frameworks in the NEM and AEMO’s Engineering framework, which seeks to identify the operational requirements for the future NEM.

The Panel published an issues paper on 28 April 2022, followed by a draft determination and final report by November 2022 and by 7 April 2023 respectively. The Panel also intends to hold a public forum in May 2022 to seek stakeholder input.

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