Maintaining power system security with high penetrations of wind and solar generation

International insights for Australia
Electricity grid Electricity distribution networks Renewable energy Power resources Electricity sector Australia

The purpose of this insights paper is to set the scene for AEMO’s ongoing investigations into renewable integration in Australia and identify any additional priority focus areas. This insights paper is generally based on information available to AEMO as at 1 October 2019 unless otherwise indicated.

AEMO stresses that this international review is to help inform potential approaches to current and emerging technical challenges, not necessarily to prescribe specific approaches that have worked overseas. Although the physics underlying power system operation are universal, the need for a particular solution is impacted by different features of each system, including the level of interconnection with adjacent systems, geographic size, generation mix, and local climate conditions. Prevailing regulatory and market design considerations also influence how any necessary requirements can be most effectively implemented in a particular jurisdiction.

This international review has identified five key insights, which are summarised below and explored in more detail throughout the report:

  1. Parts of Australia are already experiencing some of the highest levels of wind and solar generation in the world, including one of the highest levels of residential solar PV.
  2. Successfully integrating high levels of DER requires an increasing level of visibility, predictability, and controllability of these small distributed devices. Australia can learn from several jurisdictions in its approaches to these challenges.
  3. Managing variability and uncertainty is increasingly challenging at higher levels of wind and solar generation. Australia can learn from others in their approaches, including the assessment of system ramping requirements and fleet capability.
  4. Australia should consider international approaches to frequency management in high renewable generation systems, including approaches to maintaining sufficient inertia and enablement of primary frequency response on all generators.
  5. International power system operators have taken a staged approach to operating power systems with progressively less synchronous generation online. A similar approach could be considered in Australia.
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