May 15
Innovation, planning ahead and diversification are key elements for business competitive advantage

While we are heading to a future of reducing carbon emission, an unprecedented number of solar and wind connection projects arose in 2016 in response to the Australian Government's Renewable Energy Target Scheme as well as State and Territory based renewable generation initiatives.  

To ensure TransGrid could actively respond to the increasing level of interest in connection of utility scale renewable generators, a Virtual Proposal Team (VPT) was established.  Indeed, the VPT was designed to ensure the business could effectively leverage off its technical and commercial capabilities and create compelling service offerings for our customers. The outcome has exceeded all expectations, allowing us to enter long term commercial agreements with six different renewable generators in 2016. 

In implementing the VPT, TransGrid placed immense focus on 'doing things differently' to its historical connection processes and ensure that it lay the platform for more seamless customer experience.  Furthermore, TransGrid recognises that our ability to diversify and accommodate the changing needs of customers is fundamentally important. Building on our strengths, identifying and executing new commercial opportunities and using our existing infrastructure and highly skilled workforce to further enhance business value, is vital to this delivery.

As Guillermo Alonso, Engineering Manager for Global Power Generation Australia explains, the business has placed increased effort on early and proactive client engagement as well as adopting a more tactical whole-of-risk and commercial approach to its service offerings:

"Global Power Generation Australia, through its SPV Crookwell Development Pty Ltd, the proponent of the Crookwell 2 Wind Farm, has been recently awarded a Feed-in Tariff entitlement by the ACT Government for this wind farm. This renewable generation facility will help meet the Renewable Targets of the ACT and we appreciate the collaborative spirit from TransGrid that has indeed helped the project in becoming successful and in offering record-low prices for a wind farm in NSW. TransGrid has fully understood our needs as a wind farm proponent and future operator, and has set the right foundations for the timely and cost-effective delivery of a significant piece of grid connection infrastructure, which is of utmost importance in our business model."

Richard Lowe, Executive Manager Business Growth at TransGrid, also believes the opportunities for TransGrid are very significant and the foundations of VPT are strong to pursue the next round of renewable generator connection projects in the pipeline:

"TransGrid has received connection enquiries and requests for proposals for approximately 6000MW worth of renewable generation capacity within the National Electricity Market. This is exciting and a great insight into the how active the renewable development market is at present.

Innovative and competitive solutions, such as the build, operate and maintain services offered to customers under the VPT, will remain critical in ensuring TransGrid continues to provide value to our direct customers and concurrently accommodate the needs and interests of end consumers."

TransGrid remains committed to providing a stable, secure and affordable transmission network as a foundation for economic growth, increased investment in renewable generation and enabling a platform for the transmission to a low carbon economy. 

May 15
On our way to a promising change

We have reached the turning point where clear climate policy, supported by appropriate regulatory and market design frameworks  is needed to set Australia up to be an economy that benefits from the transition to a zero carbon emissions future. This message was shared loud and clear amongst approximately 500 delegates in attendance at the 4th Australasian Emission Reduction Summit in Melbourne earlier this month.  

Policy certainty will help us to secure competitive investment in clean energy production and enabling technology, emissions avoidance and carbon abatement required moving forward, as will continued active engagement from the energy industry, business community, the public and government with these issues.

TransGrid was pleased to be involved in one of the workshop sessions which put the spotlight on an important discussion. Gustavo Bodini, TransGrid's Business Development Infrastructure joined Ivor Frischknecht, CEO, ARENA and Ben Skinner, Market Development, AEMO for a panel discussion on: The challenge to deliver energy security, reliability, affordability and zero-emission power system.

Moderated by Tony Wood (Energy Program Director- Grattan Institute), the session explored what kind of national climate and energy plan is needed to drive this change.

Valuable points were raised throughout the discussion, including the importance of balancing inertia in energy networks for this transition and how we can share it more effectively through initiatives such as greater interconnection between NEM states in the future. The integration of new technologies like battery storage, coupled with regulatory policy change to allow companies to invest in capacity that takes advantage of the most effective resource is located was also proposed.  

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All the panellists agreed that a responsive government is vital as business need to have the ability to shift things quickly.  There is a need for information in real time in order to gradually implement those objectives in a realistic time frame.

Furthermore, an efficient climate review itself will be more efficient if it is looked in a national context rather than at a state level, as decarbonisation is more straight forward if it is desegregated across nations.

It shows that we are going the right direction of unprecedented changes and with it to reduce prices as there is huge opportunity and energy productivity to do more for less. While, we are behind from the rest of the world, solar will come down at least 50% in the next 10 years or so and hopefully will continue getting cheaper.

We recognised that our ability to diversify is important and our new business priorities align with the changing needs of our consumers. Building on our strengths, identifying and executing new commercial opportunities and using our existing infrastructure and highly skilled workforce to further enhance business value, is vital to this delivery.

For more information about the issues brought forward at the panel discussion view the SBS news article, Electricity rules lag behind technology

May 15
Powering Sydney’s Future: RIT-T consultation process update

In October 2016, TransGrid and Ausgrid published the Project Specification Consultation Report (PSCR) for Powering Sydney's Future. Publication of the document, which sets out in detail the need to take action to ensure security of supply to the Inner Sydney area, marked the first stage of the Regulatory Investment Test for Transmission (RIT-T) consultation process for the project.

The overall RIT-T process is designed to inform stakeholders of the energy supply need and proposed options (both network and non-network) to address it, test the market for alternative and more efficient solutions, and explain to stakeholders the basis on which the preferred option has been selected.

As part of this first round of consultation, we opened a formal expressions of interest process through which we invited providers of non-network services to help us find a technically feasible, cost effective solution. We received enquiries from several non-network service providers prior to the submissions deadline, and had received submissions from 11 providers at the conclusion of the process.

On Tuesday 9 May we published the Project Assessment Draft Report (PADR), which details all of the options that we have assessed as part of the Powering Sydney's Future project. Publication of the (PADR) marks the second stage of the RIT-T consultation process for the project. The report gives full details of the non-network options that we have considered, following the recent Expression of Interest process for non-network proponents. To view the PADR, please follow the link here.

Next steps in the RIT-T process

TransGrid and Ausgrid welcome written submissions on the PADR. If you would like to discuss the material presented in the document or require further information to assist with a submission, please contact TransGrid's Network Planning and Operations team on 02 9284 3354.

Submissions are due Tuesday 23 June 2017 and should be made via the following email address: PSFConsultations@transgrid.com.au


May 12
Have your say on Powering Sydney’s Future

Electricity supports our way of life. If you live or work in the Inner West, you're connected to one of the most critical parts of the network. 

Parts of the transmission and distribution networks which supply electricity to the Inner Sydney area were built in the 1960s and 1970s and are approaching the end of their serviceable lives. To secure the future network for Sydney, TransGrid together with Ausgrid has been investigating a number of options to deliver a solution.

As part of our Regulatory Investment Test for Transmission (RIT-T) consultation process, we are considering a range of options. These could be network, non-network, or a combination of both. A solution is required by the early 2020s and due to long lead times in delivering transmission projects we need to start the approvals process now.

A fundamental phase of Powering Sydney's Future is underway, with TransGrid commencing environmental assessments for a network solution. This network solution will likely involve the installation of two new underground electricity cables connecting between Rookwood Road and Beaconsfield West substations. The cables would not be located on any private residential property, instead installed under the existing road network. Based on a thorough route selection process which considered over 30 options, a preferred route has been identified.

How can you have your say?

TransGrid is committed to early engagement, so as part of the preliminary environmental assessment we are seeking the community's feedback on the preferred route.

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A community engagement campaign is currently underway and you might see print advertisements in your local press publications, or across your social media channels. 

We've also distributed newsletters to around 6,000 residents along the preferred route. If you didn't receive one and would like to find out more visit the dedicated project consultation page: https://www.transgrid.com.au/psf

Otherwise, if you'd like to contact the team, give us a call on 1800 222 537, or drop us an email at psf@transgrid.com.au  

Next steps

The current community and stakeholder engagement period will close on 2 June, 2017 and the feedback received during this period will be considered in the development of our plans. Even at the close of this engagement phase, we are committed to engaging with the community and impacted stakeholders throughout the life cycle of the project.

For more information about this project, along with the details of our engagement activities we encourage you to visit the website: www.transgrid.com.au/psf

May 12
Smoothing out network constraints with SmartWires

Asset Strategist Rob Alcaro, an engineer with experience in asset management, project management and design, takes us through an innovative new technology being trialled on the TransGrid transmission network.

The NSW transmission network is made up of 13,000km of high voltage transmission cables stretched across the state from Mullumbimby in the north to Bega in the south and as far west as Broken Hill. With such a vast network, there are inevitable bottlenecks and constraints as the state grows and adds new industrial production and population centres. We’re currently trialling a new technology called SmartWires that helps us make optimal use of spare capacity on our network. Getting an insight into where there are system constraints helps us manage the network more efficiently and ensure that we’re able to get power around the grid when it’s needed, where it’s needed.

The Technology
SmartWires is a new technology that dynamically controls power flows on transmission lines. It uses modular units which can be mounted individually on a transmission line conductor or as a bank at a substation. These units inject a small current into the transmission line which dynamically changes the impedance of the transmission line, allowing the flow of power around the network to be controlled in real time.

The Benefits
Dynamic control of power flows on the network can help to remove transmission constraints by optimally distributing power flows along parallel transmission paths. This could allow for: 

  • Larger power transfer capacity along interconnectors 
  • The connection of new generation where it wasn’t possible previously without major network modifications
  • Reduced cost  and lead time when compared with series capacitors and phase shifting transformers
  • Improved asset maintenance through the introduction of additional outages that are not otherwise possible

Another feature of the SmartWires technology is that it is modular and, in some cases, doesn’t require any civil works. This means it can be deployed rapidly and economically, and can also be redeployed as required.

These benefits allow TransGrid to employ flexible and innovative solutions to solve network constraints.

The Trial
TransGrid has a set of SmartWires currently involved in a practical trial on the NSW transmission network. Our Network Planning and Operations/Asset Planning group worked with SmartWires to coordinate the development and implementation of the trial. The units were successfully installed in early May on 990 line, just outside of Yass substation.

Data from the units is transmitted wirelessly back to Yass substation where it is collected for analysis.

The trial is the first in Australia and will serve as a proof of concept for future deployment opportunities.

The Future
TransGrid is already investigating how the technology can be used to benefit consumers. TransGrid’s revenue proposal to the AER for 2018-2023 included a project using SmartWires technology to achieve market benefits by removing a network constraint to increase power imports from Snowy Hydro and Victoria. 
May 12
An update on TransGrid's Revenue Proposal

In January 2017, TransGrid submitted our Revenue Proposal to the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) for the 2018-2023 regulatory period.

The Proposal was shaped by a diverse range of energy-user insights to ensure we balance the needs of customers, consumers and shareholders. You can read more in our Stakeholder Engagement Summary Report that includes an in-depth breakdown of our engagement program and insights that have helped shape the Proposal.

As part of the Revenue determination process, on 11 April 2017 the AER hosted a public forum to discuss our submission. The forum was attended by the AER, the Consumer Challenge Panel (CCP), and key stakeholders. Our CEO, Paul Italiano presented along with Gerard Reiter (Executive Manager, Network Planning and Operations) and Nicola Tully (Manager, Prescribed Revenue and Pricing). The presentation outlined the key elements of our Revenue Proposal for the 2017/18-2022/23 regulatory period and highlighted costs associated in operating the network. If you would like to read an overview of the Proposal, visit our website.

The AER has welcomed stakeholder submissions on TransGrid's proposal and submissions closed on 12 May 2017. Over the next few months the AER will continue to review our Proposal and prepare a draft determination 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 consultations or have any questions, please feel free to contact: connect@transgrid.com.au

What are the next steps?

DateRegulatory step
30 Sept 2017*

Draft decision published

(AER)

Oct 2017

Predetermine conference held*

(AER)

Dec 2017

Revised regulatory proposal due*

(TransGrid)

Jan 2018Submissions  close*
Feb 2018
Cross submissions close*
30 Apr 2018

Final decision published

(AER)

* The AER identifies these dates as indicative only. 

May 12
How efficient is your heater?
Did you know the average NSW home uses approximately 7,500 kilowatt hours of electricity, and 23 gigajoules of gas per year? According to the NSW Government’s Division of Resources and Energy, about a quarter of our annual energy use is attributed to heating. But some heating appliances are more efficient than others; how efficient is yours?
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One way to find out is to have a look at the star rating on the sticker on your appliance. The more stars on the sticker, the higher the level of energy efficiency. The star system is part of the Equipment Energy Efficiency (E3) program. E3 delivers a single, integrated program on energy efficiency standards and energy labelling for equipment and appliances. The program aims to:
  • Reduce energy bills for households and businesses in a cost effective way by driving improvements to the energy efficiency of new appliances and equipment sold
  • Improve the energy efficiency of new appliances and equipment that use energy and to also improve the energy performance of products that have an impact on energy consumption
  • Reduce appliance and equipment related greenhouse gas emissions through a process which complements other actions by jurisdictions.
To find out more about the program watch the video on the E3 website.
May 12
Heads up for Safety Day
A focus on safety is important in every workplace, but in the electricity industry it’s an absolute imperative due to the nature of the work that we do. At TransGrid, the safety of employees, contractors and members of the public is our number one priority. Safety Day at TransGrid is a day where we stop work for safety. We reflect on what’s important and find new ways to build a better safety culture. 

Over seven consecutive weeks during February and March, TransGrid’s Executive team joined members of our Safety Working Group in running a series of full-day workshops for all TransGrid employees. The Safety Working Group was established in November 2016 to find new ways to improve our safety culture. 

Safety Day events were held at all of our locations including Sydney, Sydney West, Orange, Wagga Wagga, Tamworth and Newcastle. Each event provided an opportunity for employees to hear about the work being done by the Safety Working Group and share feedback and ideas on ways to improve our safety. The discussion and workshop activities focused on a range of themes including how we can improve our systems and be more resource-ready. 

Some of the suggestions put forward at the Safety Day events include:
  • Investigating ways to reduce compliance based paperwork, specifically the Mobile Plant Framework. A mobile phone app is about to yield an 80% improvement.
  • Ensuring we have people with experience and appropriate skill sets working in the right roles to minimise exposure to risks and hazards.
  • Improving our knowledge sharing through cross region collaboration and linking our local asset information systems.
Suggestions from the Safety Day events are now being incorporated by the Safety Working Group into the planning process to produce real results that drive a step change in our safety performance.
May 12
Powering Sydney’s Future: update on non-network options
We’re excited to report that we received submissions from eleven non-network service providers to help find a technically feasible, cost effective solution to ensure supply to the Inner Sydney area. 

The submissions were provided in response to a call for expressions of interest from TransGrid and Ausgrid in October 2016, an important part of our Regulatory Investment Test for Transmission for the Powering Sydney’s Future project. Specifically, 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.

We received enquiries from several non-network service providers prior to the submission deadline, additional information and data was made available, and the timeframe for making submissions was extended to February 2017. At the conclusion of the process we had received submissions from the following service providers:
  1. AGL Energy Ltd 
  2. Beijing Hyper Strong Technology Co Ltd 
  3. BuildingIQInc
  4. City of Sydney Council 
  5. EnergyAustralia Home Services Pty Ltd
  6. ERM Power Retail Pty Ltd
  7. Jones Lang LaSalle IP Inc
  8. Origin Energy Retail Ltd 
  9. Planet Ark Power
  10. Pooled Energy Pty Ltd 
  11. RES Australia Pty Ltd
We have engaged with the proponents to determine the reliability, viability, and technical feasibility of their solutions. Together with Ausgrid, we have assessed the viability of these submissions for the Inner Sydney area. In particular, we assessed the non-network options to see whether they:
  1. Can assist in managing the risk of unserved energy* between now and when a network option can be commissioned
  2. Have the potential to defer the network investment.
The assessment results indicate that non-network solutions can assist in reducing the risk of unserved energy prior to when a network option can be commissioned. 

The responses by non-network proponents have also allowed TransGrid and Ausgrid to assess the benefits of coupling these technologies with a deferred network solution, to assess whether such an option could provide an overall greater net benefit to the market. TransGrid and Ausgrid have incorporated a new credible option that uses non-network solutions to defer the eventual network option by one year. Deferral of the network investment by two years or more using non-network solutions was found to be not cost effective.

TransGrid and Ausgrid consider that the interest from non-network proponents represents an exciting opportunity and the deferral will be the largest electricity transmission capital cost deferral due to non-network solutions in the National Electricity Market (NEM) to date.
You can find out more detailed information about the assessment and other information about Powering Sydney’s Future in the Project Specification Draft Report.

*Unserved energy is the electricity demanded by consumers but not able to be supplied.
May 12
Trending @ TransGrid May 2017

Innovation in Australia's rapidly evolving energy sector has been at the forefront of industry action and discussion. Renewable connections to our network are one vital part of this transformation to a clean energy future. In alignment with this, the future role of the grid and asset management have both been the subject of conference keynotes and discussions with industry thought leaders.

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