A $1.5 billion project to build a high capacity electricity solar interconnect is underway. It’s linking South Australia and New South Wales. It’s also been listed as a top priority. That’s big when it’s stated for interconnect by the Australian Energy Market Operator.

Andrew Spence

AEMO also published its Draft 2020 Integrated System Plan (ISP). Thereby listing the 330kv SA-NSW transmission line. All as the top of its Group 1 Priority Projects.

The 900km solar interconnect is linking Robertstown in South Australia’s Mid North with Wagga Wagga in central New South Wales. It is also expected to provide grid stability. More noteworthy, it will also lower electricity prices in South Australia. It will be completed in 2022.

Solar interconnect

Electricity infrastructure provider ElectraNet is planning this solar interconnect. It’s a $1.5 billion 800MW National Energy Grid interconnect. All most noteworthy with its NSW counterpart TransGrid. The project was also listed as Group 2 in the previous 2018 Integrated Systems Plan.

So other projects given Group 1 priority in today’s 2020 Draft ISP include upgrades to interconnections. Thereby linking Queensland with NSW and NSW. Also with Victoria and Increasing inertia and fault current. All along South Australian transmission networks.

So South Australian Minister for Energy and Mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan said the project would increase stability. It will also as a result reduce electricity prices. That’s also for residential and commercial customers.

In addition, modeling released earlier in the year showed great savings. That’s especially for small and medium businesses. More over businesses with significant electricity consumption.  Because they will save thousands of dollars each year. Yes folks I mean especially when the solar interconnect is energized.

The South Australian Government granted the solar interconnect Major Project Status in June 1.  It’s with the NSW Government. For more over it is declaring it Critical State Significant Infrastructure. Therefore the interconnect will occur in August.

Furthermore, AEMO describes Group 1 projects are as critical to address cost. As well as security and reliability issues.

The Draft 2020 Integrated System Plan (ISP) also provides an actionable roadmap. All for the efficient development of the National Electricity Market. It also uses forecasts of demand and generation retirements. In addition to scenario modeling and comprehensive engineering analysis. Its therefore developing an optimal development path. More over for Australia’s energy future.

The draft ISP also found:

1. Rooftop solar capacity is expected to double or even triple. We are expecting solar providing up to 22 per cent of total energy. As well as by 2040.

2. More than 30 gigawatts (GW) of large-scale renewable energy is needed to replace coal-fired generation by 2040, with 63 per cent of Australia’s coal-fired generation set to retire by then.

3. Up to 21 GW of new dispatchable resources are needed to back up renewables. That’s in the form of utility-scale pumped hydro or battery storage. We are talking demand response such as demand-side participation. As well as distributed batteries. Thereby participating as virtual power plants.

4. System services including voltage control, system strength, frequency management, power system inertia and dispatchability. I mean all in need to be managed as the generation mix changes.

5. Targeted and strategic investment in the grid. Because it is needed to balance resources. More over across all the states. Especially to unlock much needed Renewable Energy Zones (REZ).

AEMO’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Audrey Zibelman said the Draft lays out the future requirements of the energy system. All delivering the most cost-effective pathway. I mean considering multiple scenarios for achieving a secure and reliable system.

In conclusion, the interconnector will play a critical role in exporting excess renewable electricity to the eastern states, particularly if several of the many green energy generation projects approved this year go ahead.

South Australia leads the nation in the uptake of wind energy and rooftop solar with renewable sources accounting for more than 50 per cent of the electricity generated in the state.

This followed the closure of the state’s last coal-fired power station in 2016, which initially increased South Australia’s reliance on energy supplies from the eastern Australian states, particularly in times of peak demand.

Finally, South Australia is home to Tesla’s 100MW/129MWh battery. All which became the “world’s largest lithium-ion battery” when it was installed. It’s located at Neoen’s Hornsdale Wind Farm in December 2017. Neoen this year announced it would expand the battery by 50 per cent.