Transgrid publishes draft report to safeguard system strength

Large grid-scale battery with transmission towers in the background
Western Sydney's Wallgrove Battery (Image: Transgrid)

Transgrid has published a Project Assessment Draft Report (PADR) in which it has identified solutions to strengthen the electricity grid as coal retires and more renewables come online.

The transmission company conducted an Expression of Interest in 2023 and identified 100 possible non-network and network solutions to provide system strength to the NSW power system.

Related article: Transgrid future-proofing system strength as coal retires

Transgrid’s report identifies the preferred portfolio of solutions designed to maintain system security by creating a strong signal to help the energy system ride out interruptions and avoid instability.

Transgrid executive general manager of network Marie Jordan said, “Our power system is undergoing a high velocity transition. As coal retires and more renewables are connecting, we are facing unprecedented challenges to maintain the security and reliability of an increasingly complex system.

“We have a comprehensive System Security Roadmap in place and one of our key pillars is maintaining the strength of the system so it can operate effectively without coal.

“The release of this report is a big step forward in our planning to ensure the heartbeat of the grid stays strong throughout the rapid transition.”

Transgrid is undertaking a Regulatory Investment Test for Transmission (RIT-T) process to identify the optimal combination of solutions required to meet the needs of the power system in the coming decade.

The PADR identifies a diverse portfolio of solutions, including:

  • Between eight and 14 synchronous condensers to replace system strength that comes from retiring coal assets and unlock additional renewable generation
  • Modifications to a number of synchronous hydro generators and a future compressed-air energy storage facility
  • Contracts with a range of existing hydro, gas and coal generators to ensure they can switch on or operate in synchronous condenser mode when needed
  • 4.8GW of batteries with ‘grid forming’ capability to support the stable operation of new renewable generators.

Transgrid is the first transmission provider in Australia to launch a comprehensive program to safeguard system strength, which is necessary to support the Federal Government’s target of 82% renewable generation by 2030.

Related article: It’s system strength, stupid!

“Currently our energy system relies on system strength produced by large spinning machines such as coal, gas and hydro generators, which provide a strong heartbeat to keep the grid stable so it can ride through disturbances,” Jordan said.

“Renewable sources like wind and solar don’t have the same capabilities and need to follow a strong signal from the network, or they will disconnect, which is why we urgently need new sources of system strength.”

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