AEMO releases 30-year roadmap for electricity market

Reinforcing the supply of electricity to Newcastle, Sydney and Wollongong is a key to a 30-year plan to guarantee electricity supply across Australia on the National Electricity Market (NEM).

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has released its three-decade roadmap this morning called the 2022 Integrated System Plan (ISP).

It recommends that what’s called the ‘Sydney ring’ should be worked on immediately with a Hunter transmission project which may include the Waratah super battery in the mix.

The project will help to shore up reliable supply for people in NSW after the closure of coal-fired power stations in the Hunter Valley including Eraring, Liddell and Bayswater.

As part of developing the ISP, AEMO CEO Daniel Westerman said they and stakeholders identified the most likely future for the NEM, called the ‘step change’ scenario, having considered ageing generation plants, technical innovation, economics, government policies, energy security and consumer choice.

“The step change scenario forecasts annual electricity consumption from the grid will double by 2050, as transport, heating, cooking and industrial processes are electrified and 60% of current coal generation exiting by 2030,” Daniel Westerman said.

“To maintain a secure, reliable and affordable electricity supply for consumers through this transition to 2050, investment is required for a nine-fold increase in grid-scale wind and solar capacity, triple the firming capacity (dispatchable storage, hydro and gas-fired generation) and a near five-fold increase in distributed solar,” he said.

Daniel Westerman said that the need to cost-effectively deliver the investment in firmed renewables has gathered momentum in recent months.

“We’ve recently seen market dynamics exhibiting the step change scenario, including accelerated coal-fired power station closures. In addition, generation unavailability and high commodity prices further highlight the need to invest in the transmission plan outlined in the ISP to support firmed renewables,” Daniel Westerman said.