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Powerlink project to provide insights into renewable integration

6 May 2020

The Morrison Government will support a study that focuses on overcoming challenges to grid security caused by record levels of renewable generation.

System strength has emerged as a major challenge impacting on renewable generation projects in the National Electricity Market (NEM). The Government will work with Queensland transmission network operator Powerlink to help ensure Australia’s energy systems remain reliable and affordable as more renewables are brought into the mix.

The Government, through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), will provide more than $490,000 in funding to support Powerlink Queensland to explore a number of technical, commercial and regulatory solutions to address the challenges.

Last week, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) published a report which highlighted the challenges of integrating record amounts of renewable energy, with record levels of wind and solar generation added to the network in 2019.

Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor said the study will provide a chance for Powerlink Queensland to review both the opportunities and challenges presented by connecting large-scale renewable generators to the NEM.

“As highlighted by AEMO last week, we know there are still a number of steps to be taken so that the NEM can operate reliably and securely with higher levels of renewable energy, and this study is one such example,” Minister Taylor said.

As part of the wider $900,000 project, Powerlink is also looking at whether solar or wind farms can support system strength by utilising emerging storage technologies such as grid scale batteries and synchronous condensers. 

Minister Taylor said this new study will provide further insight to the discussion and planning for the future of Australia’s energy security.

“Through the study, we are hoping to better understand the intricacies of system strength so that we can continue to keep the lights on and power price down for households and business,” Minister Taylor said.

In 2019 almost 23 per cent of electricity generation in the NEM came from renewable energy, up from 20 per cent in 2018.  Based on analysis from the International Renewable Energy Agency, on a per capita basis, Australia is installing renewable energy at ten times the global average.

“The study will also support renewable energy proponents who are trying to connect to the network, not only in the North Queensland region, but right across the country. This will ensure Australia can continue to be a world leader in renewable energy, ” Minister Taylor said.

Powerlink’s study is expected to be complete in late 2020. To download the initial report, visit arena.gov.au.

Media contacts:

Minister Taylor's office  02 6277 7120