AER begins action over Callide C performance standards

Callide Power Station (Unit C3)
Callide Power Station

The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has instituted proceedings in the Federal Court against Callide Power Trading for failing to comply with its performance standards for the Callide C power station.

Related article: CS Energy revises Callide Unit C3 return to service

Callide Power Trading is the registered market participant for Callide C Power Station. Callide Power Trading is owned 50% by IGPC and 50% by Callide Energy—a subsidiary of CS Energy.

On the afternoon of 25 May 2021, an incident occurred involving the trip of multiple generators and high voltage transmission lines in Queensland following an initial event at the Callide C power station. This resulted in the loss of approximately 3,045MW of generation and 2,300MW of customer load being disconnected from the power system, resulting in widespread blackouts to households and businesses across Queensland.

After investigating, the AER alleges Callide Power Trading breached rule 4.15(a)(1) and clause 5.2.5(a)(1) of the National Electricity Rules in respect of the Callide C4 generating unit by failing to ensure its plant met or exceeded applicable performance standards, and by failing to plan and design its facilities and ensure they were operated to comply with those performance standards.

The failure of Callide C4’s protection systems to disconnect the generating unit from the power system resulted in the trip of multiple generators. Callide C4 has been offline since the incident.

AER Board Member Justin Oliver said, “Performance standards describe how a generating unit should perform and how it should respond to adverse events. These standards are agreed between the Registered Participant and the Australian Energy Market Operator.

“Failure to comply with these standards can risk power system security, see consumers disconnected from power supply and cause wholesale energy prices to increase during and beyond these events.”

“It’s vital that Registered Participants and Generators are aware of their performance standards and comply with them at all times so that the market and consumers aren’t wrongly exposed to the consequences of adverse events,” Oliver said.

The AER is seeking pecuniary penalties, declarations, orders for remedying the breach or preventing the recurrence of the breach, and costs.

A Callide Power Trading spokesperson said, “The AER’s proceedings allege two contraventions of the National Electricity Rules in relation to CPT’s compliance with the Callide C4 Generator Performance Standards in connection with the catastrophic failure of that generator on 25 May 2021.

Related article: Dr Sean Brady to lead independent investigation into Callide incident

“Callide Power Trading Pty Ltd will work co-operatively with the Australian Energy Regulator to resolve this matter as soon as possible.”

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