Dec 13
Powering Sydney's Future update - December 2017

​We have recently been in discussions with the Department of Education to start building relationships with schools along the preferred route. We also met with future project neighbours, Sydney Metro, to discuss the St Peters section of the preferred route.

December saw the release of the Project Assessment Conclusion Report (PACR), which proposes a staged delivery of two cable circuits. The PACR is the third and final report in the Regulatory Investment Test – Transmission (RIT-T). 

Looking toward 2018, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will be prepared for the project. A program of stakeholder and community engagement will play an important part in the development of the EIS, before public exhibition in late 2018.

To find out more about Powering Sydney's Future, visit our consultations page to view a project video and the preferred route. 
Dec 12
Managing network safety - How TransGrid keeps you safe

​TransGrid’s commitment is deliver value to the community through investment in a safe, secure network enabling a stable market at the lowest cost to our customers. Our transmission network presents many safety hazards to be managed over the life of each asset and we have zero risk appetite for any safety incident.

TransGrid is nearing the end of a significant review of our total network safety risks. This includes:
  • Risk to members of the public from our assets being there
  • Risks to our workers through contact with electricity or asset failure
  • The safety impacts of starting a bushfire
  • The safety risk to the community should our network not be able to supply energy
  • Damage to property and the environment more broadly.
TransGrid has applied an industry specific methodology, known as a Formal Safety Assessment to:
  • Identify all credible hazards
  • Evaluate the residual risk
  • Identify controls in place
  • Identify additional controls which may 
  • Assess that the resulting risk to each of the safety outcomes above is acceptable. 
Whether we are electricity users, generators, business or industry groups we are all potentially impacted by the safety of the network, so input from any of our stakeholders is most welcome. 
Dec 12
White Ribbon Workplace accreditation is our social and moral obligation

​TransGrid is proud to be accredited by White Ribbon, the world’s largest movement of men and boys working to end violence against women and girls. There are many worthy causes in the community, but there is no more important cause than how we treat one another. 

Sadly, today in Australia, a society where all women can live in safety is not the social ‘norm’. TransGrid is committed to doing our bit to achieve that important social change. As the nation’s largest transmission network, and the platform that connects the national electricity system, we can also play a leadership role - not just in our industry but more broadly in our community.  For this reason, it was important that TransGrid became a White Ribbon Accredited workplace. Leaders and ambassador champion White Ribbon

Leaders and survivors gather at Canberra Parliament House during White Ribbon Australia’s 16 Days of Activism. 
Top left: Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull addresses guests. Bottom Left: TransGrid CEO Paul Italiano speaks about TransGrid's White Ribbon Workplace accreditation. Right: White Ribbon Australia Director, Dan Gregory; White Ribbon Australia CEO, Libby Davies; Leader of the Opposition, The Hon. Bill Shorten; White Ribbon Day Ambassador, Dr Angela Jay; Deputy Leader of the Opposition, The Hon. Tanya Plibersek; TransGrid CEO, Paul Italiano. 

Prior to engaging with White Ribbon Australia, TransGrid had an acute focus on gender equality and diversity in our workforce. Embracing White Ribbon’s values and approach was a “must do” next step for our organisation. Our goal was incomplete without actively demonstrating that our workplace culture is one that embodies, embraces and practices zero tolerance of violence against women. 

Undertaking the White Ribbon Accreditation program was a key part of TransGrid’s Diversity and Inclusion Strategy. We believe that for each employee to feel they are included and can contribute to the best of their ability, they must feel safe, supported and able to contribute at work. 

It is fair to say TransGrid has been on a journey in understanding and better supporting our employees in this regard. Presence, persistence and vigilance are the most important ingredients in effecting change.
This started with implementing a Domestic Violence leave clause in the TransGrid Employee’s Agreement, as well as the support of our Employee Assistance Program. Last year we took the important step to engage our leaders, customers and stakeholders in the role we all play in ending violence against women in our society as part of our White Ribbon Workplace accreditation process.

We are now proud to be officially recognised by White Ribbon Australia as a pioneer in contributing to national cultural change to prevent and respond to violence against women.

However, TransGrid was only the 122nd Australian organisation to achieve White Ribbon Workplace accreditation. Another 100 organisations are currently working toward accreditation.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there are 2.1 million registered businesses in the country. 2.5% of these businesses employ 20 or more staff. That leaves about 52,000 Australian businesses with a workplace that should be –but isn’t  – White Ribbon accredited.

While TransGrid is taking its people on the White Ribbon journey, we recognise we have a role as an ambassador to encourage other businesses to commit to this important cause.

White Ribbon Workplace accreditation is not a trophy, it is our social and moral obligation.
Oct 12
Better connected NEM regions could ease ‘energy crisis’, says TransGrid CEO

​This week, our CEO Paul Italiano addressed the Australian Financial Review’s National Energy Summit, where Australia’s ‘energy crisis’ was dissected by some of the industry’s leading minds. His speech outlines the role that transmission networks can play in delivering reliable, sustainable and affordable energy in a transitioning energy system. Read on for more insights into how transmission can harness the nation’s abundant renewable resources to address energy shortages and reduce costs. 

As Australian Financial Review journalist, Jennifer Hewitt recently observed, conversation about the energy crisis solution has become about being quicker and cheaper. In other words, Australia is looking for a quick fix.

While I agree that a short-term solution to the energy challenge is imperative, it should not be at the expense of the planning required for a sustainable, affordable energy system of the future.

Artificially extending the life of an energy coal plant or curtailing gas exports is not an answer for 2022, and it is certainly not an answer for 2050.

We should be careful not to take a short-term approach to long-term investment challenges in the National Electricity Market.
There is enough time to implement and execute solutions that are in the best long-term interest of consumers. But our time is running out. 

One option available at the moment is better utilisation of the assets we already have. Leveraging the footprint of our transmission system and removing the constraints that exist in the NEM, enables more energy flow between state markets and will allow easier connection for new energy sources to enter the grid. 

NEM regions could be better connected to minimise localised energy shortages 

We tend to look upon the NEM as one big bucket, which of course is not true. 

In reality, our electricity system is comprised of as a series of energy ‘nodes’. Australia has some of the highest levels of dispatchable energy in the OECD, but electricity nodes are not well-connected, meaning that when one region is suffering a shortage, three others could be seeing a surplus. 

These constraints are – by and large – caused by the nature of the existing configuration of our transmission network. 

The limitations of the current network are a major impediment to freeing up capacity. They contribute to the erosion of reliable supply and the lessening of wholesale market competition.  

Benefits of transmission investment

It is transmission infrastructure that provides access to the economy of scale and economy of scope in our network. It provides access to the substantial capacity that is outside of the grid, and also the ability for us to dispatch the lowest cost generation. 

If our nodes were better connected we would not only have more than enough power to meet our demand, we would have excess energy available to be transported between regions and states. 

In addition, and very importantly, we would also be able to use these connections to better manage the impact that increased renewables have on the efficient running of our electricity system. 

Transmission provides reliable and low cost dispatchable generation

However, it seems that as a society we have lost our sense of electricity transmission’s value proposition in the NEM, and the social benefit of transmission to our community.

Transmission is more than moving electrons from A to B. It is a universal network asset that provides reliable and low cost dispatchable generation. 

We can retire ageing coal fired power stations and replace them with generation from other sources by using a common platform. The value proposition allows people to share capacity across the network and facilitates equal access for all. 

As a market we must keep in mind that we need to invest in maintaining and developing an integrated grid, with a common platform, accessible to everyone. 

Without one platform, the social benefits of transmission are eroded, and the potential of sharing capacity and integrating other forms of generation – including renewables – cannot be realised. 

We need to plan prudently for the energy system of the future 

The NEM will need capacity to accommodate the population growth and increasing demand that we are beginning to see. Right now, TransGrid is doing very little to build for the challenges of our network’s future.  

The City of Sydney alone is forecasting population growth of 25% over the next decade.

The Metrorail project in Sydney requires 70MW of power to run the ventilation system.

Generators of all sorts are contacting us, seeking to connect to the grid. We’re turning away more generators than we are able to connect because of the capacity constraints of the system.

So, what are we doing about it? 

At the moment, our Revenue Proposal (to the Australian Energy Regulator) suggests $100 million augmentation expenditure for the next five years. That’s less than four dollars per customer, per annum. This of course is amortised over 50 years. 

It is important to note that TransGrid’s electricity tariff over the last two regulatory cycles has decreased. Even our Proposal to the Revenue Determination that’s underway proposes a price reduction of 2.5 per cent in real terms over the next five years. This will bring us to 15 years of consecutive cost reductions in electricity tariffs for transmission. 

It’s also important to note that TransGrid did not appeal the decision in the last round of regulatory process. In this respect, we seek to differentiate ourselves from other networks in the Australian energy market. 

At some stage, however, a low level of investment becomes unsustainable. The current situation is concerning for the long-term, given that transmission is the low-cost and effective investment to access new generation. 

Transition to renewables

The effective management of our transition to renewables is without doubt the biggest challenge for the network. 

Much has been said about investment in renewables and the pathway to the reliable, secure, affordable and low-emission supply of electricity. 

Australia is blessed with some of the world’s best renewable energy potential. There are new technologies that allow us to manage this more effectively. 

In July this year, TransGrid connected White Rock Wind Farm, west of Glen Innes. There are two more projects in that space.  Individually, White Rock is able to supply power for 75,000 homes a year, indicating that there is space for significant renewable generation in our market.
This is one success story. Unfortunately, we have had to turn down a few others that have been trying to connect to our system. The value-add of these investments, we believe, would be substantial. 

Renewables, particularly in combination with storage capabilities, have the potential to provide a cheaper form of reliable energy than some of the traditional sources. Heavy coal ranges between $70 and $100 per megawatt. This is more than the competitive prices we’re getting for renewable generation. 

Cost-effective renewable energy – enabled by transmission – is already a reality overseas 

There are other countries and jurisdictions around the world that have been successful at integrating higher levels of renewable generation than we have. 

If you look in Texas, the cultural home of US crude oil, competitive renewable energy zones were established 10 years ago to access wind capacity.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas covers 75% of land, manages 85% of the load, involves 60,800 kilometres of transmission lines and more than 550 generation units. They propose to integrate 18.5 GW of renewable generation into their system.
  
Even whole towns such as Georgetown in Texas are supplying their electricity exclusively with renewable generation. What’s important is that the case for renewable generation in Georgetown, Texas, was not built on a renewable ideology. It was built on the basis of cost. 

Increasingly, we see that the economics of renewable generation, with the support of global investment in the technologies required to make them work, are becoming more and more important on an economic basis, rather than an ideological basis. 

Despite this, we do still hear the doomsday arguments about renewables: the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine. The truth is, with the right technology and the right level of connectivity we can effectively manage the efficiency and impact that these technologies have on the system.

Scotland is another example. They built 692 km of transmission lines that have significantly increased the amount of renewable generation available. They export energy to the London market. 

As a nation we have been slow to act on our energy challenges. The Finkel Review has provided an economically rational, socially responsible path to planning and implementing a sustainable energy system for the suture. We call on government to adopt the recommendations. 

I’d like to conclude with a quote from Warren Buffet: “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

If we persist in looking for solutions that provide a cheaper, quicker experience we will forego the shade that we can offer future generations. We’ve been basking in the shade of trees planted by generations of electricity engineers before us. We should make sure that we don’t hand down a poorer legacy to future generations.   

Sep 25
R U OK? How to look out for a workmate in 4 steps

At TransGrid, the safety of employees, contractors and members of the public is in our DNA. This year's R U OK Day campaign focused on staying connected and having meaningful conversations. Watch the video to find out how you can open a conversation with someone who might be struggling in just four steps. 

RUOK.PNG

For more informaton on suicide prevention, including a wide range of resources visit ruok.org.au


Sep 22
EUAA NSW Energy Forum: Taking control of your energy future

​Australia's energy sector is under pressure to deliver energy that's affordable, reliable and sustainable. Our network (and the National Electricity Market) will look very different in the future. The transmission network in Australia has been built around linking our coalfields and hydro resources to major population centres. Now, the industry is looking at developing the electricity system to enable the move to a clean energy future.

The cost of wind and solar generation is falling, and sources such as Bloomberg New Energy Finance predict that the cost of new solar will be cheaper than existing coal plants by 2032. It's a big change, but one that transmission networks can lead by acting as the platform to support a transition to a renewable energy system.

These were some of the themes addressed by TransGrid's Gerard Reiter, Executive Manager, Network Planning & Operations at the Energy Users Association of Australia (EUAA) NSW Energy Forum on Monday 4 September. Gerard presented in the first session of the forum, following The Hon. Don Harwin, MLC and The Hon. Adam Searle, MLC.

"TransGrid has an enormous opportunity to evolve the grid to cater to new generation types in a changing National Electricity Market", Gerard said.

"We have to think differently about the purpose and potential of transmission. And we have to work together with others in the sector, so the outcome is competitive and effective."

For information on other EUAA events including their annual conference in May 2018, visit the EUAA website.



Sep 22
Planning for summer

​Maximum electricity demand in NSW has grown consistently over the last three years, due to population increase, hotter summer temperatures and a reduction in electricity prices. This places pressure on the network, particularly in hot summer months that typically result in periods of peak demand. We're working closely with energy generators and regulators to develop a comprehensive Summer Readiness plan to protect consumers and businesses by safeguarding the reliability of our energy supply.

There are a number of inputs that inform this planning. One is the Transmission Annual Planning Report. Each year, TransGrid and other regulated electricity networks conduct a planning review. We collaborate with AEMO, distributors, and interstate transmission networks to develop the overall grid in the most efficient way, for the benefit of consumers.

TAPR.PNG

This is informed by state demand forecasts, provided by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO); and connection point forecasts, provided by distribution networks.

For further information about peak demand, check out the Breaking Down Peak Demand post. 


Sep 21
Renewable Energy Hub industry briefing

On Thursday 24 August TransGrid and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency co-hosted a briefing for energy industry stakeholders on the role of transmission in Australia's energy system of the future.

Attended by delegates from federal and state governments, industry regulators, networks and renewable energy developers, the briefing covered the following areas of interest for Australia's energy sector:

  • The Renewable Energy Hub – an ARENA-funded study examining innovative grid connection options for renewable energy proponents in the New England region
  • Unlocking Australia's Renewable Energy Future – a strategic approach to making the most of Australia's solar, wind and hydro resources at the lowest cost
  • Renewable Energy Connection Update – a bird's eye view of the state of renewable energy connections across TransGrid's high voltage network
  • The Changing Renewables Outlook – Presented by CSIRO Chief Economist Paul Graham, an examination of the role of the energy sector in reducing Australia's carbon emissions in line with our international commitments and obligations.
To learn more about the Renewable Energy Hub study and read the report visit our consultations page.


Sep 21
Project update: Powering Sydney's Future

​TransGrid is continuing to engage with stakeholders as part of the planning process for the Powering Sydney's Future project. 


In September, members of our project team met with local councils along the preferred route to provide an update and obtain feedback on the proposed community engagement approach.

We are also in the process of developing materials for schools and community groups in areas along the preferred route, so stay tuned!

To find out more about Powering Sydney's Future, watch the video and see the preferred route, visit our consultations page.


Aug 23
TransGrid asset management on par with NASA and the US military

TransGrid has become the first Australian organisation to join the likes of NASA and the US military as a recipient of the Jacobs Asset Management Recognition Medal. 

About the asset management medal 

The medal recognises organisations that go beyond standard asset management compliance. Such organisations embrace the full extent of the Asset Management Concept and the benefits that this can bring. The provenance of the medal stems from Jacobs US operations, where clients are recognised for their efforts to achieve excellence in challenging environments. 

Perusing asset management excellence in a transforming energy system 

At a time of energy system transformation, drivers such as community expectations, retirement of existing generation and advances in renewable energy technologies are reshaping Australia’s expectations of how networks should operate, and the service they should deliver. In combination with this, growth in energy consumption and maximum demand is expected to continue over the next decade.

In this time of change, our aim is to deliver value to the community through investment in a safe, secure network enabling a stable market at the lowest cost to our customers. 

To this end, planning and development of the network is undertaken on a cyclical, needs-basis to ensure that transmission service delivery to our customers is cost-effective, environmentally responsible, responsive to changing requirements, and compliant with jurisdictional, contractual and regulatory obligations.

We use a comprehensive risk-based approach to asset refurbishment and replacement. We prudently manage our portfolio of forecast network developments by:
  • Engaging with stakeholders early in the planning process and ensuring that communication and genuine consultation remains open to deliver the best outcomes for consumers,
  • Considering all options to address emerging security of supply issues,
  • Continuing to optimise all projects within the planning horizon to ensure efficient delivery of the required network developments.

Culture of everyday excellence 

We are accredited to the global ISO55001 Asset Management Standard. Our vision is for accreditation to remain a by-product of excellence in our everyday operations. Over the next 12 months, TransGrid’s aim is to move into reliability centered maintenance, and to build on asset management system with a focus on big data and analytics. 

Learn more about asset management services that are available to support your business

In addition to the comprehensive schedule of asset management on our network, we offer connection opportunities; and specialised asset maintenance services for organisations with high voltage transmission equipment. 

Connecting to the transmission network 

To learn more about the process for network connections in NSW, and ACT, visit the Connection Process page of the TransGrid website.  

Maintenance 

To learn more about the service offering, email maintenance@transgrid.com.au or visit the Maintenance page of the TransGrid website. 
TransGrid maintenance offers: 
  • Maintenance plans, customised to your needs 
  • Emergency maintenance 
  • On-demand maintenance
1 - 10Next