Operational efficiency and security of supply are big topics for the energy sector in the opening months of 2017. View some of the highlights below.
AFR Business Summit
TransGrid CEO Paul Italiano joined a panel of experts including Minister Josh Frydenberg for a discussion on Australia's energy crunch.
NSW-SA interconnection: cost efficiency, security
An interconnector has the potential to reduce energy prices and increase security for consumers, says TransGrid CEO, Paul Italiano. View the full article.
Working in the long term interests of consumers
TransGrid has met with industry leaders to collaboratively identify and progress key issues affecting the long term interests of energy users. A consumer-driven future was the theme of Energy Consumers Australia's inaugural energy sector Foresighting Forum.
International Women's Day
It's a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
Regulated revenue determination
'TransGrid is proposing a cut in tariffs over the next five years, despite a sharp rebound in electricity demand and a proposed $375 million investment to improve connections into Sydney's CBD.'
The Australian Financial Review discusses our Revenue Proposal for the 2018/19-2022/23 regulatory period, which is currently being reviewed by the Australian Energy Regulator.
The NSW Rural Fire Service had their work cut out for them this summer with the state experiencing its most dangerous day of bush fire conditions ever in February. A number of locations across the Hunter, Central Ranges and Upper Central West Plains faced catastrophic fire danger conditions and more than 2,500 firefighters fought more than 200 bush and grass fires over the weekend of 11 and 12 February. As operator and manager of the high voltage electricity network connecting NSW and the ACT, the heatwave conditions presented a number of challenges in relation to system control and bushfire risk.
Operating the network under heatwave conditions
Friday 10 February saw the eastern coast of Australia and the main grid from Queensland to SA, including NSW and ACT, predicting soaring temperatures and big electricity loads. Officially AEMO advised that they were forecasting a LOR3 (Lack of Reserve) condition for NSW and by morning had advised our Responsible Officer, Gerard Reiter, that they were declaring a level 4 emergency under the Power System Emergency Management Plan.
Weather monitoring systems are an important tool in helping us assess the impact of extreme weather on the network in real time. On Friday 10 February and for the duration of the heatwave weekend, we had staff monitoring Indji Watch , a system that assesses the impact of over 20 million natural phenomenon events per month across electrical utility companies and wind farm operators throughout Australia, USA and Canada. One of the features of the system is a live feed from the Rural Fire Service (RFS) which helps us to identify and respond to any new fires where our assets may have been affected. The information is passed onto the Network Control Manager so that they are aware of the incident and can be ready to dispatch staff to respond. Indji is also used to monitor lightning strikes (which can be verified to the nearest millisecond), BOM data on weather including radars, temperatures and wind direction around the state, and satellite based smoke detection cameras.
Preparing for extreme weather
Extreme weather events can have a significant impact on the transmission network. Approximately 90% of all transmission line trips are caused by bushfires and storms combined. Bushfire risk management forms an integral part of our overall asset management. Effective management of our infrastructure helps to maintain public safety, reduces interruptions to electricity supply and minimises the possibility of fire ignition by electricity assets.
TransGrid has detailed plans and strategies in place for the mitigation of bushfire risk to minimise the effect on the community and meet our regulatory safety obligations. In September each year we review all our easements and maintenance requirements and conduct a Fire Risk Assessment to ensure we are prepared for the oncoming summer. We also work closely with emergency services, particularly with the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS), to ensure appropriate measures are taken to prepare the network for extreme weather and that we are equipped to manage such events.
We understand that the work of RFS is vital to communities across the state and are pleased to have been able to support a number of RFS branches over the years through our Community Partnerships Program.
Visit to Colinton Rural Fire Brigade, Community Partnerships Program 2014
Visit to Taree Rural Fire Service, Community Partnerships Program 2016
Visit to Eunony Bush Fire Brigade, Community Partnerships Program 2015
For more information about the systems we use to monitor environmental threats such as bushfires and storms visit our blog.
On 22 December 2016, the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) published its final report and final supplementary reports recommending transmission reliability standards for all bulk supply points in NSW. The Reliability Standard sets the level of reliability that TransGrid must meet in planning the NSW transmission network.
The Reliability Standard recommended a level of redundancy and an allowance for minutes of annual unserved energy that TransGrid must meet in planning the NSW transmission network.
The level of redundancy specifies the number of backup arrangements (either none, 1 or 2) that must be in place to support continued supply of electricity in the event that part of the transmission network fails. The recommendations are consistent with the existing standard.
The unserved energy allowance is a new addition to the standard. It is the expected time that energy will not be supplied per year. The recommended unserved energy allowances range from 0.6 minutes per year in Inner Sydney to 115 minutes in one area in NSW's west.
For Inner Sydney, its recommendation would likely result in a small increase in the expected value of unserved energy, however IPART considers it would not result in a significant change to the level of reliability experienced by customers.
The standards provide flexibility to promote the most efficient network or non-network solution to meet the unserved energy allowance, which may include the transmission network, distribution network, network support arrangements, backup supply capability, or a combination of these.
The standard comes into effect on 1 July 2018. IPART will also review the standard in time for the following regulatory period which will commence in 2023.
Garrie Chubb is the Investment Support Manager at TransGrid. As part of his role he leads a small team who seek out non-network solutions as an alternative to the traditional network investment solution.
In October 2016 TransGrid put a call out to non-network service providers to help find a technically feasible, cost effective solution to ensure supply a critical part of the network. Providers of non-network services with a minimum aggregated capacity of one megawatt (1 MW) in the Inner Sydney area available 8am-8pm on working weekdays were invited to submit an expression of interest.
The call for expressions of interest is an important part of TransGrid's Regulatory Investment Test for Transmission (RIT-T) for the Powering Sydney's Future project.
Non-network solutions can offer alternatives to expanding our network. Such options are considered whenever we face an investment need and offer the opportunity to defer or avoid capital costs.
Non-network solutions are alternatives to network augmentation which address a potential shortfall in electricity supply in a region. These solutions are typically better tailored to local needs and enable us to adapt quickly to changing operating conditions.
In the context of the Powering Sydney's Future project, there is potential for non-network options to defer the time at which network investment would be required. Non-network options may include:
- Embedded generation (a generating unit either connected to the distribution network or connected to a distribution customer, rather than being connected to the transmission network)
- Energy storage (such as batteries which can be charged overnight during the off peak period enabling electricity to be stored and discharged during peak times)
- Load curtailment a reduction in consumption during a defined time period. This includes both ceasing to (in part or full) to consume electricity as well as shifting consumption to outside the critical time period.
Previous non-network success
Historically electricity networks have leveraged peaking electricity generation plants (such as gas or hydro) to increase power generation to meet demand. Demand response works from the other side of the equation- instead of adding more generation to the system; it encourages users to shift consumption outside peak periods. TransGrid's facilitation of demand response capacity allows the business to defer new build projects and reduce strain on the network.
Over the last decade TransGrid successfully instigated two of the largest demand management programs for transmission businesses in the NEM, in the Sydney-Newcastle-Wollongong area during the summer of 2007/08; and in the Sydney area during the summer of 2012/13.
During the summer of 2007/08 TransGrid procured 350 MW of demand management (both load curtailment and embedded generation) in the Sydney-Newcastle-Wollongong area. The implementation of this market leading demand management program enabled TransGrid to defer construction of the Western 500 kV Project for one year, delivering NSW consumers a cost saving of $14m.
Four years later, TransGrid partnered with EnerNOC, the world's largest demand response provider world's largest demand response provider and leading energy intelligence software company, to deliver a demand management project involving more than 80 sites across metropolitan Sydney.
This collaboration saw a reduction of about 600 kW from each of the 80 sites and subsequently a possible reduction of peak demand for the summer of 2012/13 by a total of 48 MW, which represents almost 150% of targeted savings. As a result of our strong partnership with EnerNOC, we were able to utilise existing relationships with Sydney's large energy users to trigger changes in power use when peaks were forecast.
Non-network evaluation underway for Powering Sydney's Future
While the demand management market in Australia is relatively new, support for the implementation of non-network solutions continues to grow both within the industry and at a consumer level. Since advertising the Expression of Interest for the Powering Sydney's Future project in October, TransGrid has received a number of enquiries from service providers with a range of offerings.
TransGrid received 10 responses to the call for expressions of interest for the procurement of non-network services for the Powering Sydney's Future project.
The quantities of demand response offered has been quite significant, and we are now in the process of taking the offers and developing technically and commercially feasible non-network portfolio which can then be assessed as an alternative option in the economic evaluation.
We anticipate the evaluation process to take approximately 4-6 weeks and the outcome will be published in the Project Assessment Draft Report (PADR) towards the end of March 2017. The PADR will be the second of three documents to be issued as part of the RIT-T consultation process. The first document, Project Specification Consultation Report (PSCR), was issued in October 2016 and the final document, Project Assessment
Conclusion Report (PACR), is scheduled for publication in June 2017.
As the operator and manager of the NSW high voltage electricity grid, we enable more than 3 million homes and businesses to access a safe, reliable and affordable supply of electricity.
To ensure the safe and reliable supply of electricity to the National Electricity Market (NEM), and support the future growth of Australia, last year the COAG Energy Council launched an Independent Review of the Future Security of the NEM.
The Review is being led by Australia's Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, and a panel of experts from across the energy industry. The Finkel Review aims to take stock of current issues in the NEM and provide advice to governments on a coordinated, national reform blueprint.
On Friday 3 March 2017 we made a submission to the Review and discussed the pivotal role of transmission networks and the role they will play in the energy system of the future.
As we transition into a low carbon future we believe that transmission networks are in a unique position to support increased energy security and affordability while also playing an integral role in reducing emissions in the electricity sector by transporting energy between areas with abundant renewable resources and areas with significant energy consumption.
Vision for the energy system of the future
The energy system of the future
With the progressive shutdown of coal fired power generators, the energy system of the future is likely to be substantially based on renewable energy generation. At the same time, customer choice and control as well as increased security and reliability can be enabled by an increasingly interconnected network that allows sharing of resources and services. This transition is largely driven by a combination of community and consumer expectations, technology development, public policy and, increasingly, by the falling cost of renewable energy.
The need for reforms
We believe that a trajectory towards 100% renewable generation is feasible, and that the technical challenges associated with this transition can be met in a way that is affordable. In order to ensure that the future energy system meets customer and consumer needs, we've proposed several reforms that will be essential to a successful transition:
- Connection of large-scale renewable generation in areas with abundant renewable resources will be enabled by extension of the transmission network to those areas.
- An increasing proportion of intermittent generation will be made possible by greater interregional transmission capacity and large-scale energy storage. This will allow sharing of geographically diverse resources and smoothing of the intermittent generation profile to fit the demand profile.
- As existing synchronous generation is retired, there will be a need for new ancillary services to manage system stability in place of inherent synchronous inertia. Until 2030, the synchronous generation projected to remain in the NEM will provide sufficient inertia for the power system as a whole, if shared between regions though stronger interregional connections.
- New technologies, such as large-scale battery storage that provides fast frequency response, should be incorporated into networks early so their application in practice can be understood and validated in system stability models.
- The regulatory framework will need to evolve to support the energy system of the future.
The NEM is expected to undergo a massive transition and it's important that the energy sector continues to collaborate and discuss the ways in which we can ensure a safe, secure, reliable and cost efficient network.
Over the coming months it's expected that Dr Finkel and the panel will continue to consult across the energy industry and make a final report in the first half of 2017.
For further information about the Review visit the Department of the Environment and Energy's website.
We are currently inviting schools across Southern and Central West NSW to participate in TransGrid's BeSafeKids Program for 2017.
We'd love to hear from you if your school would like to participate in our BeSafeKids primary school program - which aims to teach school students about the importance of staying safe around electricity and our assets.
About the Visit
The visit involves a presentation by local TransGrid representatives and takes about 45 minutes including questions.
Our BeSafeKids program is free and can be presented to one classroom or the whole school.
About the Program
The program covers a range of areas including:
- The importance of staying safe around electricity and our assets
- The history of electricity
- Importance of being committed to the environment
- Information about TransGrid.
Participating children also receive activity books and show bags that include information about work TransGrid is undertaking in the local area.
How you can get involved
If you have any questions or inquiries contact our Community Engagement Team E: email@example.com
If you live in the Central West or Southern NSW you may have received a newsletter from us with some information about remediation and possible replacement works on parts of the network in your local area.
About the network
TransGrid's network comprises 99 substations and nearly 13,000 km of transmission lines and cables. Interconnected to Queensland and Victoria, it provides a strong electricity system that makes energy trading possible between Australia's three largest states along the east coast and supports the competitive wholesale National Electricity Market (NEM).
TransGrid's electricity network map
TransGrid's electricity network map- Inset
The network covers an extensive area of central New South Wales extending from the Orange area to Sydney and south to Dapto. There is approximately 3,350 km of transmission line and 32 major substations in this area of the network.
The southern part of the network covers a diverse area extending from Broken Hill to the Snowy Mountains, down to the Victorian border and north to Marulan. There is approximately 4,500 kilometres of transmission line, some which traverse the largest National Park in New South Wales.
Central West Lines Remediation and OPGW Upgrade
TransGrid is undergoing a range of projects across our existing transmission network in central west NSW and Southern NSW that will improve the efficiency of their operations and delivery of electricity to consumers. The low spans transmission line project involves raising the height of some spans of existing transmission lines that have been identified as having low clearance to the ground or other objects. The optical fibre ground wire (OPGW) project involves the replacement of ageing ground wires located on the top of existing transmission lines with new optic fibre cables.
Safety is our number one priority at TransGrid for our employees and contractors, as well as the communities in which we operate. Through BeSafeKids we help educate and inform primary school students about the importance of being safe around electricity and our assets. The program also teaches primary school students about the history of electricity, the environment and what we do here at TransGrid.
Members of the TransGrid Community team will be in the Central West and Southern areas of NSW in the coming months – a perfect opportunity to book in a BeSafeKids visit for your school. You can get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org, or find program details on our website.
Energy Consumers Australia (ECA) was established by the COAG Energy Council to enable the voice of residential and small business consumers to be heard in policy, regulatory and market decisions so their interests are reflected in better consumer outcomes.
Each year ECA holds a Foresighting Forum to bring together the whole energy industry to work collaboratively on identifying and progressing key issues affecting the long term interests of consumers.
In 2016 there were four areas identified for continuing collaboration across the energy industry including:
- Market design to support innovation e.g. emerging business models and new energy products & services, given new technologies and the transition to lower emissions
- How the market can make choice easier at every step of a consumer's engagement with energy services especially at the time of choice
- The most nationally efficient and effective way to: address energy affordability for low income households, and mitigate the adverse impacts of the increasingly patchy nature of consumer protection
- Approaches to collaboration across the energy industry and with consumers.
The two-day Foresighting Forum held mid-February 2017 focused on 'working together for a consumer-driven future' in-line with COAG Energy Council's independent review of the national electricity market.
A large part of the agenda over ECA's two-day forum was to take stock of current security, reliability and governance of the National Electricity Market (NEM) and deliberate the current regulatory and policy constraints, how consumers are driving transformation and how we can support this change across the energy industry.
Collectively we know that the energy industry is changing and as a transmission network, we know that our investment decisions can positively shape how effective the network supports these changes as well as continue to ensure the safe and reliable supply of electricity to the National Electricity Market.
At TransGrid we are preparing for the future and we’ve proposed a number
of reforms in our submission to the Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market.
Significant change to energy generation, transport and use means it's time to plan for the future and we look forward to continuing to collaborate across the industry to maintain a safe, secure and reliable NEM.
As the operator and manager of the NSW high voltage electricity grid, we enable more than 3 million homes and businesses to access a safe, reliable and affordable supply of electricity.
Our electricity system transports electricity from sources of generation including wind, coal, solar, gas and hydro to large industrial customers and to the distribution networks. It is then delivered to your home or business. Comprising 99 substations and more than 13,000 kilometres of high voltage transmission lines, cables, and interconnections with Queensland and Victoria, our grid plays a crucial role in supporting the economic growth of NSW and the ACT.
As a network business, we look at our costs carefully. While transmission is a small component of electricity bills, around 7% for households, you should not pay more than necessary for a reliable electricity supply.
Why we are regulated
Regulation is to ensure that the interests of all those who produce and consume electricity are looked after. The focus of this regulation is the provision of safe, reliable and affordable transmission services which are sustainable over time. We benefit from regulation as it helps us plan and maintain the network in the long term interests of those who rely on it.
Periodically, TransGrid submits a revenue proposal to the Australian Energy Regulator (AER). This sets out the revenue which supports the provision of transmission services to various reliability, safety and environmental standards over the next five years. This revenue requirement is based on forecasts of various costs, such as maintaining our transmission assets. Our forecasts consider a range of factors including the feedback from engaging with customers and consumers.
2018-2023 regulatory period
As a network business we look at our costs carefully and we’ve been working hard to help achieve real reductions to the average household bill.
The AER has published our Revenue Proposal
for the 2018-2023 regulatory period which is an important step in the revenue determination process that will come into effect on 1 July, 2018.
The proposal has been shaped by a diverse range of energy-user insights
and we believe that it reflects the current state of infrastructure, the more complex operating environment and the challenges of evolving transmission services to meet the requirements from increasing renewable generation in the national energy mix.
Customer and consumer views are also at the heart of our business plans and to meet your needs we have embraced:
- Innovation: TransGrid has tested new ideas and practices to drive improvements
- Responsiveness: TransGrid has listened and responded to consumers
- Efficiency and affordability: TransGrid has demonstrated a strong level of efficiency and performance that will be maintained to the benefit of customers and consumers.
Next steps in the revenue determination process
The AER is required to determine TransGrid’s revenue allowance for the regulatory control period commencing 1 July 2018. Over the next few months the AER will review the submission and prepare a draft determination.
The AER expects to make its draft decision in September 2017. Further information related to the process and key dates can be found on our website.
If you are interested in getting involved in any of our consultations or have any questions, please feel free to contact email@example.com
To ensure the safe and reliable supply of electricity to the ACT, and support the future growth of the region, TransGrid has undertaken a joint project with the ACT Government and ActewAGL called the ACT Second Electrical Supply Project.
The project includes the construction of a substation and will ensure TransGrid’s electricity supply meets the reliability level prescribed by the ACT Government and is one example of a project plan that has evolved in response to energy user needs.
As part of our licensing requirements, TransGrid is subject to a reliability standard in the ACT to ensure the safe and reliable supply of electricity.
The standard includes the provision of two independent points of transmission supply by 2020. TransGrid currently supplies the ACT load via our Williamsdale and Canberra substations. However, the Williamsdale substation is dependent on the Canberra substation. The requirement for a second, fully independent supply point is being met by the construction of a new substation located at Stockdill Drive.
There were a number of factors that informed the project need along with a number of options in selecting a site for the substation. These included security of supply, the impact on urban development potential, environmental and heritage values, costs, planning and technical requirements.
After a rigorous site selection process and collaborative working group with the ACT Government agencies, a site for a new substation at Stockdill Drive was identified, and approved by ACT Government in March 2015. It was identified as the site that best minimises impacts associated with the above factors.
Key project dates
- Environmental approval: July 2016 – February 2018
- Commencement of site works: September 2018
- Completion of works: December 2019
If you would like to find out more about this project
, visit our website
and get in touch!