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ARENA announces $2.23M for new grid connections simulation tool

2 min read
ARENA announces $2.23M for new grid connections simulation tool

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced a $2.23 million funding for the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) to develop a cloud-based connections simulation tool that will enable a more efficient evaluation of new grid connections. 

The connections simulation tool will be a critical solution that will assist project developers to efficiently prepare their applications for electricity projects and reduce the time to connect them to the National Electricity Market (NEM).

With the tool, project developers and their partners and electricity networks can rapidly test and refine their renewable energy plant and project configurations using the same detailed wide-area power system simulations used by the AEMO, all the while preserving the confidentiality of the model data. 

AEMO has worked to connect 121 new generation projects in the last four years. However, there are still over 97 gigawatts (GW) of proposed generation projects, which is double today’s entire NEM capacity. These proposed generation projects include over 46 GW of wind, 33 GW of solar and 10 GW of hydro. 

The $12.95 million project will be the first step for the delivery of AEMO’s Australian Energy Simulation Centre, which was investigated through an ARENA-funded feasibility study in 2019. The connections simulation tool is a critical foundational operating platform that will help achieve the overall objective to efficiently manage a large number of grid connection applications from renewable energy developers. 

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said the development of the connections simulation tool would help to integrate and fast-track renewable energy into the energy system. 

“Australia’s energy system is evolving rapidly with most of the growth in generation coming from rooftop solar and large scale solar and wind,” CEO Miller said.

“The proposed connections simulation tool will assist large scale developers by providing a detailed source of energy data and modelling that incorporates our electricity systems, thereby allowing them to accelerate their development process and manage potential risk before going through the formal grid connection process.” 

Testing will soon commence with a working prototype to be used by industry participants. This will be followed by a staged rollout of the connection simulation tool, with its first major release planned for the end of 2021. AEMO will work collaboratively with industry and trial users, and incorporate stakeholder feedback at each stage. 



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