Researchers at Monash University will conduct a desktop study to explore issues and strategies associated with connecting inverter-connected plants such as batteries, solar, and wind into weak electricity grids.
Australia’s power system is undergoing a major transformation, with anticipated thermal generation retirements and a rise in inverter-connected variable renewable energy (VRE) technologies. Many regions in the National Electricity Market (NEM) are experiencing system strength related problems, and it is expected that this situation will intensify. The rapid growth of VRE has also had tangible commercial impacts for operating generators, as some areas with high VRE share seeing connection delays or curtailment.
The Weak Grids Study will characterise system strength problems and assess a variety of design, control scheme and configuration solutions including new VRE control systems, synchronous condensers, and grid-forming inverters.
The study will use the West Murray region of the NEM as a case study due to the region’s current system stability challenges. The study will adapt to the network conditions and operating decisions in West Murray as they evolve and provide an opportunity for NEM stakeholders to understand and explore emerging issues. The study’s outcomes will be applicable to Renewable Energy Zones across the broader NEM and the South West Interconnected System.
The study aims to achieve the following outcomes:
- reduced grid connection risk (time and cost) for renewable developers
- increased hosting capacity of VRE in weak networks
- improved understanding of power system security and reliability when operating with higher shares of renewable energy.
It will take more than just renewable generation to build a strong, resilient energy system.