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AEMO has released its 2019/20 Summer Readiness Report, outlining the plans and actions in place to prepare Australia’s power system for the upcoming summer.

The 2019/20 Summer Readiness Report follows has been produced by AEMO in collaboration with governments and industry stakeholders to proactively manage heightened risks to power system operations identified in AEMO’s 2019 Electricity Statement of Opportunities (released in August 2019). It is focused on four pillars:

  • Sufficient available resources
  • Continuing operational improvement
  • Contingency planning
  • Collaboration and communication

AEMO Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Audrey Zibelman, said, “The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) is forecasting both warmer than average and extreme temperatures this summer, and an ongoing and significant risk of bushfires with drier than usual conditions. 

“These risks add to the deteriorating reliability of some of the older coal generation plants.

“Whilst unexpected events can and do happen, particularly when the power system is under significant pressure and most prone to failure, AEMO has worked diligently to prepare the power system appropriately, including the procurement of emergency resources.”

Since the summer of 2018/19, AEMO has seen 3700MW of increased generation in the National Electricity Market, with rooftop and grid-scale solar generation representing approximately 90 per cent of this increase.

“The introduction of these resources delivers a welcomed improvement to reliability and reduces the need to procure further out of market reserves,” said Ms Zibelman.

For the 2019/20 summer, AEMO has secured 125MW of reserves through off-market generation, along with demand management programs where consumers are paid to shift or reduce their energy usage. 

The reserves include 61MW of long notice Reliability and Emergency Reserve Trader (RERT) contracts and 64MW through the joint AEMO/Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) demand side participation trial.

Additionally, AEMO has entered into a total of more than 1500MW of short and medium notice RERT agreements across the NEM, which allow AEMO to more rapidly enter into reserve contracts if required. Of this, more than 1000MW is available for Victoria and South Australia, and the remainder in New South Wales and Queensland, to cover risks associated with extreme heat and system scenarios.

“AEMO remains focused on the real risk to power system operations this summer. It is pleasing to see the level of interest from RERT providers, as this initiative enables AEMO to have sufficient resources to manage possible high-risk scenarios that can occur in summer, such as extreme or extended heatwaves, bushfires and unplanned generation or transmission outages,” Ms Zibelman said.

“With the majority of these resources purchased under arrangements where payment is only required when AEMO needs them to avoid load shedding, they are a necessary and cost-effective insurance policy for the reliable operations of the system.” 

AEMO has also been working closely with generators across the NEM to identify whether there are existing or anticipated fuel supply risks to operations. Current drought conditions are projected to have minimal impact on supply adequacy this summer.

Looking beyond the summer of 2019/20, AEMO will continue to work closely with the Australian Energy Market Commission, the Australian Energy Regulator, industry and governments to progress developments that will enable an affordable, reliable, and secure energy system for Australian energy consumers now and into the future.

AEMO will continue to use the Energy Live online media portal to provide the community with live updates on events, as and when they occur, throughout the summer.

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