The final report for the AEMC’s Frequency control frameworks review was published in July 2018. The report details a frequency control work plan that sets out actions the Commission, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) will take to support the stable and secure operation of the power system in relation to frequency control.

Stable frequency is an important part of maintaining a secure power system. Frequency varies whenever electricity supply does not exactly match consumer demand and uncontrolled changes in frequency can cause blackouts. As the generation mix changes to include more variable generation we need new ways to control frequency to deliver better frequency performance across the system. 

To date, the AEMC has made a number of rule changes to address the immediate system security needs of the transforming system. This includes requirements for networks to provide minimum levels of inertia and system strength, and new ‘last line of defence’ schemes to help AEMO better prepare for, and respond to, a system security emergency.

The AEMC’s frequency control work plan, which continues to progress, sets out actions to make the most of existing equipment as well as harnessing the power of new technologies to help keep the power system stable. It includes new rules and operating techniques, and more transparent and regular reporting of frequency performance to inform investment and operating decisions.
 

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The final report for the frequency control frameworks review included a collaborative work plan that set out a series of actions that would be progressed by the AEMC, AEMO and the AER. This work plan has been updated following the publication of the draft determination for the Mandatory primary frequency response rule published on 19 December 2019.  An overview of the status of this frequency control work plan is provided in the table below:

Completed

These actions were completed between the publication of the final report for the Frequency control frameworks review on 26 July 2018 and the time of publication of this draft determination for the Mandatory primary frequency response rule change request on 19 December 2019.

Action Status
  • AEMO published a revised Causer pays procedure that promotes clarity and removes intervals where the frequency indicator (FI) and actual frequency are mismatched and publishes FI data closer to real time.
  • Completed December 2018
  • Reliability Panel published a final determination on stage two of the Review of the frequency operating standard, which included a thorough review of the settings contained in the standard.
  • Completed April 2019
For further information, refer to the Review of the frequency operating standard project page.
  • Through a two-month trial of increased regulation FCAS volumes from October to December 2018 in the mainland NEM, AEMO investigated the need to increase the quantity of regulating FCAS on a static or dynamic basis. From March 2019 to May 2019 AEMO progressively increased the base quantity of mainland NEM regulation FCAS volumes from 130/120MW to 220/210 MW raise/lower.
  • Completed May 2019
For further information, refer to Factsheet and updates on the AEMO website – Frequency and time deviation monitoring
  • The Commission made a final rule, Monitoring and reporting on frequency control framework, which established ongoing reporting requirements:
    • on AEMO in relation to frequency and frequency control performance; and
    • on the AER in relation to the performance of frequency control ancillary services (FCAS) markets.
  • Completed July 2019
  • The rule will commence on 1 January 2020.
For further information, refer to Monitoring and reporting on frequency control framework (ERC0273)
  • AEMO assessed the effectiveness of its short-term actions at meeting the requirements of the frequency operating standard and communicated a need to implement interim measures before a longer-term mechanism for primary frequency control within the normal operating frequency band comes into effect.
  • On 16 August 2019 AEMO submitted a rule change request, Mandatory primary frequency response. 
  • AEMO commenced consultation on proposed changes to Market ancillary service specification and the Causer pays procedure. 
  • November 2019
  • AEMO made adjustments to AGC tuning as part of the upgrade of its energy management system software.
  • Late 2019
  • The AEMC published the draft determination on the consolidated Mandatory primary frequency response and Primary frequency response requirements rule changes. 

    The draft rule requires all registered generators in the NEM to provide Primary frequency response outside of a narrow band either side of 50Hz.  
     

  • Completed December 2019

For further information, refer to the AEMC rule change pages:

Immediate term (present to December 2020)

During this period, AEMO continues with a range of actions to better understand the current and future frequency control needs of the power system and takes steps towards addressing these needs through a revision of current AEMO operating practices and procedures. The AEMC will focus on the implementation of the mandatory requirement for PFR and will consider approaches to incentivising and rewarding the provision of frequency control services.

Action Status
  • AEMO commissioned a further review of AGC systems in July 2019, which may result in further adjustments to AGC tuning.
  • Ongoing
  • AEMO, the AEMC and the AER established a NEM virtual power plant trial program in November 2018 to support an understanding of the technical and regulatory requirements associated with virtual power plants providing FCAS, as well as energy and network support services. 
  • Ongoing

For further information refer to AEMO’s Virtual power plant demonstrations page.

  • AEMO continues its review of contingency FCAS quantities, including:
    • The staged reduction of NEM load relief factors
    • Review of maximum switch reserve quantity
    • Consideration of regional FCAS requirements
    • Minimum technical requirements for Regulation FCAS
  • Ongoing
  • As of November 2019, AEMO has reduced the assumed mainland load relief from 1.5% to 0.8% and will continue to reduce load relief to 0.5% by mid-January.  
  • Ongoing

AEMO held stakeholder meetings in relation to frequency control in the NEM on the following dates:

  • 26 November 2018
  • 17 December 2018 
  • Various meetings during February – April 2019 in relation to potential rule changes
  • 18/20 June 2019 – PFR rule changes
  • 25/26 August 2019 – PFR rule changes
  • Rule commenced on 1 January 2019
  • AEMO evaluates the requirement to submit a rule change request to:
    • allow Small Generation Aggregators to classify small generating units as market ancillary service generating units for the purposes of providing market ancillary services, and
    • to clarify that Market Ancillary Service Providers are able to satisfy their obligations to provide market ancillary services through enabling small generating units.
  • Q2 2020
  • AEMO continues its work on assessing the longer-term needs of the power system, based on a holistic view of inertia, primary and secondary frequency control as well as potential new needs. AEMO is to consider issues such as:
    • Ability to cover coincidental ramps in VRE Ramps
    • Locational and temporal requirement for faster contingent frequency response
    • The role of advanced inverter capabilities
    • AEMO will update their progress on this work through staged reporting in relevant publications.
  • From Q1 2020
AEMO’s intended completion of its review of the Market ancillary service specification, including implementation of proposed changes.
  • March 2020
  • AEMO’s intended completion of its review of the Causer pays procedure to align with proposed changes to the NER through its rule change request, Removal of disincentives to primary frequency response. 
  • March 2019
  • Timing subject to change, pending outcome of the AEMC’s assessment of the Removal of disincentives to primary frequency response rule change request.
  • Expected AEMC publication of a final determination on the consolidated Mandatory primary frequency response and Primary frequency response requirements rule changes.
  • 26 March 2020
  • Scoping phase for potential solutions to the issues raised in the Removal of disincentives to primary frequency response rule change request.
  • April - May 2020
  • Proposed commencement for the substantive elements of the Mandatory primary frequency response rule.
  • 4 June 2020
  • Expected AEMC draft determination on the Removal of Disincentives to Primary frequency response rule change request. This will include consideration of approaches to incentivise and reward the provision of frequency control services.1
  • September 2020
  • AEMO’s intended commencement of proposed changes to generator governor settings for the second tranche of generators (generators <200MW) under the Mandatory primary frequency response rule.
  • December 2020
  • Expected AEMC final determination on the Removal of Disincentives to Primary frequency response rule change request.1
  • December 2020
  • AEMO reports on the requirement to add or amend performance objectives for frequency control in the NEM.
Q4 2020

Additional work

As noted earlier, AEMO, the AER, the ESB and the AEMC are all working together in coordination with the ESB’s Post-2025 Market Design plan. Part of this work includes looking at issues to do with system security and resilience, including such key challenges as:

  • Identify which additional services may be required given the changing mix of supply with more asynchronous generation
  • Determine how the market can efficiently procure the system services needed, valuing those services in ways which drive both the investment needed and their efficient delivery
  • Provide incentives to minimise the cost of those services and provide for innovation and new technology in their provision

Note:1. These are preliminary dates for the assessment of the Removal of Disincentives to Primary frequency response rule change request. The scope and timing of this process will be confirmed in 2020 following the publication of a final rule for Mandatory primary frequency response.