TransGrid notches up a renewables milestone

NSW transmission operator TransGrid recently marked more than 4,000 MW of renewable energy connections, with current and near-term connections delivered by the entity powering the equivalent of 1.6 million households, or 16 per cent  of Australian homes, with carbon free renewable energy.

TransGrid’s network which is described “the backbone of Australia’s National Electricity Market” includes 105 bulk supply substations and more than 13,000 kilometres of high-voltage transmission lines and cables connecting New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.

The NSW energy system contains 1,700 MW of operational large-scale renewable generation with a further 2,500 MW contracted to be delivered over the next 18 months, including 380 MW in Victoria.

The outlook for renewables is bright says TransGrid which continues to see “significant connection enquiries” in renewable energy generation, large scale pumped hydro and battery energy storage systems.

Executive Manager Business Growth, Richard Lowe, said the number of committed projects and pipeline of future projects demonstrates the pace of the change in electricity generation taking place in the energy system.

“TransGrid’s completed renewable connections to the National Electricity Market combined with work underway totals more than 4,200 MW of capacity, generating the equivalent to the annual electricity usage of 1.6 million Australian households.”

Scheduled connections over the next 18 months will reach a total almost 2,400 MW and includes projects in NSW and the Berrybank Wind and Kiamal Solar projects in Victoria.

Writing in the 2019 NSW Transmission annual planning report, Executive Manager Gerard Reiter said Australia’s energy system is transitioning, with development being shaped by consumer demand, new technologies and global capital markets which favour investment in renewables.

He emphasised the need for integration of more variable and distributed energy resources, driven by lower cost renewable generation, significant reductions in technology costs, changing consumer preferences, and the progressive retirement of coal-fired power stations over the next two decades. (A blueprint that that would provide comfort to Tuvalu and other embattled Pacific Island leaders.)

To that end, TransGrid is developing techniques and technologies to ensure network resilience and performance, as renewable connections increase.

“In the past three years, we have facilitated connection of over 1,000 MW of renewable generation to the network, and have managed the integration of higher levels of intermittent generation without destabilising the grid,” Reiter wrote.

TransGrid is collaborating with AEMO on the integration of large-scale renewable energy to improve system-wide co-ordination. (See next story.)