The Australian Energy Market Operator says more than 1GW of new wind, solar and battery storage projects have been registered in the main grid in the past three months – meaning that these projects can now complete their commissioning process.
The new registrations comprise two big battery projects – the 300MW (450MWh) Victoria Big Battery in Victoria that has since suffered delays due to the Tesla Megapack fire, and the 100MW (150MWh) Wandoan battery in Queensland, the first big battery in that state.
The country’s biggest completed wind project, the much delayed 500MW Stockyard Hill wind farm in Victoria had the first 286MW stage registered, and has already ramped this up to around 200MW of output, although there is still no word on when the second stage will be registered.
The Bulgana Green Energy Hub, which combines a 194MW wind farm and a 20MW/34MWh battery, also obtained its second stage registration, allowing it to ramp up to full capacity.
The solar farms that received registration include the 150MW Suntop and 85MW Hillston solar farms in Victoria, the 13MW of solar that service the Mannum-Adelaide pipeline pumping station in South Australia, while the small 7MW Diapur wind farm in Victoria also obtained registration.
The recently completed 2020/21 financial year showed mixed results on the pace of new wind and solar projects, confirming an increase in the backlog of projects finally obtained registration and completed commissioning, but a fall in new projects coming to the market.
According to the AEMO data, there were 33 generators totalling 2.68GW registered in the last financial year, and 16 generators totalling 1.73GW commissioned. It said this represented an increase of 600MW registered and 480MW commissioned compared to the previous financial year.
However, there were 18 projects that became “committed” after successfully completing the first stage of the connection process, but this represented a sharp fall in capacity terms to 2.1GW, from 3.6GW in the previous financial year.
In other news, AEMO says two of the four large synchronous condensers being installed in South Australia have completed testing and have been operation for a “few weeks”, while the other two have completed initial testing and will now conduct system tests.
AEMO says the syncons will allow more “asynchronous” generation to be supported, removing limits that had capped the combined output of large scale wind and solar. Those limits have already been relaxed to around 1,900MW, depending on various conditions, and will be further relaxed to 2,500MW.
It means that the number of synchronous generators – which in South Australia means gas – that are required to be online will be reduced.
In more news, AEMO says that another two solar farms in the troubled West Murray Zone that overlaps western Victoria and south-west NSW had reached “committed status” after undergoing initial connection assessments.
These are ib vogt’s 60MW Yanco solar farm south of Griffith in NSW, and X-Elio’s 96MW Wunghnu solar farm in the Moira shire in Victoria.
AEMO says two projects are undergoing integration assessment and AEMO is working closely with the respective NSPs on a further five projects nearing integration assessment, but it says that connecting projects within the WMZ remains “challenging in terms of capacity.”
It also warned that it continues to observe “intermittent power system oscillations” in the West Murray Zone – the issue that caused the first five big solar farms in the region to have output slashed by half for seven months until inverter settings were changed which appeared to address the issue, and for other connections to be severely delayed.
“While there is no immediate cause for power system security or performance concern, this phenomenon may be caused by number of factors,” it said in a note to stakeholders.
“AEMO is actively monitoring this area and engaging with network service providers, generators and the broader power system engineering community to identify and where possible resolve the causes.”