Brian Attwood, Consumers SA Committee Member and Power Specialist, provides this report on the workshop held on 16 May 2017 and jointly run by the Essential Services Commission of South Australia (ESCOSA) and the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) as part of ESCOSA's Inquiry into Generator Licensing Conditions. 

"Adam Wilson of ESCOSA opened the workshop. Speakers were David Swift of AEMO, Cath Chalmers AEMO, Andrew Groom AEMO, Badra Badrzadeh ESCOSA and Michael Bagot of ESCOSA.

The discussions were very technical but I learned a great deal from them. I was sitting next to Natasha Cheshire Director, Licensing, Monitoring and Reporting, ESCOSA and Stuart McPherson Manager Technical, ESCOSA.

With the information on the presentations and talking with Natasha and Stuart I was able to have many questions answered. I asked for copies of the presentations and Natasha confirmed these would be sent to us in a couple of days. These could be put on our website when they arrive. [NOTE: the slides are now available by clicking on any of the links in this article.]

National generation licensing rules do not suit today’s conditions, so South Australia is working on Transitional Licensing rules.

I will do my best to report on what I learned, not being technically trained in this subject, as I believe this is more important, than the generator proposed licensing as this will be available in slide form later.

We have already 43% wind and solar generation in South Australia with a further 1881MW of new plant planned. AEMO considers Battery Storage as a Generating system so the Battery storage the South Australian Government is proposing will be in addition to new plant considered.

As we build more Non Synchronous Generators (Wind or Solar) in the short term we will have to use, in South Australia, gas or biofuel Synchronous Generators to keep the System Strength, Frequency Control, Inertia and voltage control.

South Australia is leading the world in this area as there is no system as large as ours operating in the world with so much Non Synchronous power generation. Our system was not built for this type of generation and now needs adjustment to run safely. We will be ahead of the National grid in forming rules for South Australia’s Power generation and distribution even though we are part of the Nation grid, because we have the problems now.

This is why ESCOSA and AEMO are working together to make rules to accommodate our new conditions. Other states will have these problems later.

We were shown a map of the National grid with area’s of weak frequency control and the further you are away from the Synchronous Generator the weaker the frequency control. This shows a new inter-connector with the Eastern State would NOT help our problem.

Battery storage may help in the future but it would be important where it was placed. Synchronous Condensers would help in the future but for the moment the Synchronous Gas Generator is the best option when spun up to speed, disconnecting it from the motor with an electronic clutch and then using the spinning generator to control the frequency by pull or push on the power system.

Restarting the system if failure occurred with battery storage is a possibility in the future. As time goes by all the ageing coal fired power stations will be with drawn so we need to find low cost solutions to these problems now, so when they are withdrawn the problems are fixed."


AuthorRay Dennis