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Australian energy group calls for power operating standards framework

The Western Australian (WA) Energy Transformation Taskforce (Taskforce) has called for the creation of a framework to govern technical standards for the operation of power stations.

The group has said that a centralised Power System Security and Reliability (PSSR) Standards Framework should be created.

PSSR standards are a set of generation, operation and other technical rules intended to maintain grid security and reliability. They include generator performance standards for new generators exporting electricity to the grid.

The Taskforce identified a number of issues with Western Australia’s current approach to PSSR standards in an information paper in April, including the lack of a single body with responsibility for the end-to-end governance of PSSR standards, the absence of a consistent overarching set of technical standards for power system security and reliability and the duplication and ambiguity in the roles of different entities responsible for the governance and operation of PSSR standards.

The Taskforce suggested that a centralised framework should be implemented to provide for the regulation and governance of a single end-to-end PSSR standard for the South West Interconnected System (SWIS) and suggested relevant legislative changes to the energy minister.

George Varma, a renewable energy expert at Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law, said: “Grid connection issues continue to plague renewable energy projects across Australia. A single point of reference and responsibility for PSSR standards in Western Australia will go a long way to giving developers and contractors clarity on the standards they are required to meet and may, hopefully, ease some of the delay commonly caused by the grid connection bottleneck. This is certainly a positive step forward for the renewable energy industry in the state.”

Before the full centralised framework is implemented, an interim Joint Agreement Framework for specific PSSR standards will be established through changes in Wholesale Energy Market (WEM) Rules and Technical Rules.

The Taskforce was established in May 2019 that aim to deliver the WA government’s energy transformation strategy and reports directly to the state’s energy minister.

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