New records for the amount of new electricity generation projects and megawatt capacity coming into the National Electricity Market (NEM) were achieved in 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) Chief System Design Officer, Alex Wonhas, said that more than 40 projects totalling nearly 4900MW completed registration or began exporting to the grid during 2020.

“It was only possible thanks to strong collaboration between developers, OEMs, network service providers and AEMO,” Dr Wonhas said.

“Without collaboration and deep insights from all parties, the technical challenges associated with generation projects located in difficult connection conditions would not have been solved.

“There’s a fundamental generation shift underway in the NEM, with strong interest in new renewable generation projects driving the pace of this change.

“Favourable generation resources are attracting new projects into remote locations, which may present technical challenges, impacting grid performance, operational stability and connection delays.

“Last year’s performance reflects AEMO’s combined efforts with network service providers and projects managers to achieve these record levels of new generation, equating to approximately 8.4 per cent of current NEM generation capacity.”

As at the end of January 2021, the total generation capacity of the NEM is 57,499MW, with a further 23,278MW of proposed solar generation and 15,746MW of wind generation.

“This rapid transformation to renewable generation highlights the critical investment identified in the Integrated System Plan to deal with known operational challenges and realise positive consumer outcomes,” Dr Wonhas said.

Click here to view AEMO’s 2020 Integrated System Plan (ISP), summary document and an infographic highlighting forecast changes in the National Electricity Market in the next 20 years. 

For Victoria, where AEMO plays a unique role in the NEM, the required system changes are outlined in the Victorian Annual Planning Report.

 In 2020, AEMO achieved:

  • 12 generators (with a total capacity of 1560MW) in commercial operation.
  • 32 generators (with a total capacity of 3301MW) registered and entering commercial operation in the coming weeks and months.

New generators registered in 2020:  

  • Middlemount Solar Farm (26MW) – QLD 
  • Bango 973 Wind Farm (155MW) – NSW 
  • Collector Wind Farm (219MW) – NSW 
  • Crudine Ridge Wind Farm (138MW) – NSW 
  • Jemalong Solar Project (50MW) – NSW 
  • Molong Solar Farm (30MW) – NSW 
  • Sunraysia Solar Farm (200MW) – NSW 
  • Wellington Solar Farm (170MW) – NSW 
  • Morgan-Whyalla Pipeline Pumping Station No 3 (6MW) – SA 
  • Cohuna Solar Farm (27MW) – VIC 
  • Moorabool Wind Farm (150MW) – VIC 
  • Glenrowan West Solar Farm (110MW) – VIC 
  • Yatpool Solar Farm (81MW) – VIC

New generators commissioned in 2020: 

  • Ross River Solar Farm (116MW) – QLD 
  • Rugby Run Solar Farm (65MW) – QLD 
  • Murra Warra 1 Wind Farm (225MW) – VIC 
  • Granville Harbour Wind Farm (110MW) – TAS
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