The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) is currently reviewing the system restart standards for restoring generation and transmission services in the National Electricity Market (NEM) following a major supply disruption or blackout. Most generators are unable to restart independently after being tripped off and so need to access electricity from the grid to restart operations. The Australian Energy Market Operator procures System Restart Ancillary Services (SRAS). These are defined in the NEM rules as “a service provided by facilities with black start capability which allows (a) energy to be supplied and (b) a connection to be established, sufficient to restart large generating units following a major supply disruption.”
On 25 August the AEMC published its draft decision on the revisions to the current system restart standards, a comparison is tabled below.
|Current standard||Proposed draft standard|
|Standards apply equally to all electricity sub-networks||The standards can apply differently in different electricity sub-networks to reflect the technical capacity in each sub-network|
|Sufficient SRAS to ensure 40% of peak demand in each electricity sub-network could be supplied within 4 hours of the major supply interruption||Sufficient SRAS to ensure (a varying % of) average operational demand in each sub-network could be supplied within 3 hours of a major interruption (4 hours for N. QLD)|
|N/a||New requirement suggesting an aggregate reliability standard across all electricity sub-networks, rather than a reliability standard applied to each SRAS source.|
The proposed draft standards are intended to ensure consumers pay no more than necessary for the restoration of electricity supplies after large-scale outages. The draft standards were determined with input from industry and aligns with world best practice.
The timetable for the review is as follows:
- 30 June 2015 – Terms of reference for the review
- 25 Aug 2016 – Draft standards published
- 21 Sep 2016 – Public forum planned to discuss the draft standards
- 6 Oct 2016 – Closing date for submissions on the draft standards
- 17 Nov 2016: Final determination and standards to be released