The renewable energy boom marches on. The share of renewables across Australia has already reached around 20 per cent of the main grid, and another 4,500MW of wind and solar capacity is expected to be added to the grid in the next 18 months.
The Australian Energy Market Operator has released an updated schedule of most of the new wind and solar farms, plus a few battery storage projects, that are due to be fully complete over the next 18 months.
The release came as part of its updated assessment of marginal loss factors for generators across the main grid. MLFs represent the amount of a generator’s output that is credited by the market.
Some wind and solar farms have been marked down heavily, while others have had a slight upgraded depending on what is happening in their part of the network – is there more or less generation, more of less load, and has the network been upgraded.
The timeline of the new wind and solar farms is critical because it will effect calculations for MLFs. AEMO says it adjusted its draft assessment, in some cases quite significantly, after learning that some wind and solar projects would not meet their original timeline.
The list below reflects the 29 projects that updated their assumed connection timelines since the start of April, including one fast-start gas project in South Australia and a sugar-based biomass project in Queensland.
Some projects – such as the Kennedy wind farm in Queensland, the Lake Bonney battery in South Australia and the Silverton wind farm in NSW represent significant slippages.
One project, the proposed 53MW Teebar solar farm in Queensland is no longer deemed committed. All told there are some 46 projects in the pipeline, but some did not respond to AEMO’s request, but AEMO was not advised of any changes to 17 of them.
It is also interesting to note that the timelines for the connection process.
Unless otherwise advised, developers are being told that each generation unit will have to remain at a hold point of 1/3 of its capacity, and then 2/3 of its capacity for periods of around two months each.
This highlights the long time line between initial energisation and connection, and full commercial operation. For some, it might be six months after installation before full production is reached.