framework to allow flexible electricity transmission network planning

Grid Australia – a group that represents the owners of Australia’s electricity transmission networks in the National Electricity Market (NEM), as well as Western Australia – has welcomed recommendations for a national framework for electricity transmission reliability.

In November, the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) released its report, Review of the national framework for transmission reliability, in which is recommended moving to a nationally-consistent, economically-derived approach to setting electricity transmission reliability. This approach would be based on an economic assessment that transparently balances the cost of investing in a reliable bulk power supply with customers’ willingness to pay.

Grid Australia chairman Peter McIntyre said if adopted by the NEM participating governments, the new model would, “ensure customers’ bulk electricity supply is delivered at the most efficient overall cost”.

The AEMC report strongly recommended the adoption of a single, nationally consistent planning framework. Currently, Victoria uses a unique approach compared with those applied in other parts of the National Electricity Market.

“Grid Australia supports a consistent approach. Bringing the Victorian planning arrangements into line with the rest of the NEM would provide greater transparency and accountability,” Mr McIntyre said.

Mr McIntyre also noted the AEMC report endorsed the importance of using judgement and discretion when setting reliability standards to ensure the consequences of rare, high-impact events on the transmission network are properly accounted for.

“Our members look forward to working closely with the Australian Energy Regulator, the Australian Energy Market Operator and other stakeholders to determine how that analysis would be conducted and how the resulting standards would be expressed,” he said.

Grid Australia strongly supports the AEMC’s recommendation that reliability standards continue to be set by bodies independent of the transmission network businesses themselves.