System Security work program 

The electricity industry in Australia is undergoing a fundamental transformation. The last decade has seen a rapid rise in the penetration of new generation technologies, such as wind farms and rooftop solar. In the past, these technologies accounted for only a small fraction of total electricity supply. Now they are a critical part of our power system, and their significance is continuing to grow.

In July 2016 the AEMC initiated a review into system security.

We have also received a number of rule change requests on aspects of power system security that are being considered concurrently and in coordination with the review.

In March 2017 we made a final determination and final rule on the consolidated rule change request for emergency frequency control schemes.

We are working with our stakeholders and the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) to develop a comprehensive set of potential solutions that take into consideration issues raised by consultation across the system security work program.

New technologies have technical characteristics that differ from the plant they are replacing. The impact of non-synchronous generation, including renewables, on how the system is maintained in a secure state will be an important focus in the coming years.

The AEMC has published a directions paper on the System Security Market Frameworks Review. The directions paper presents the Commission's proposed approach to addressing the two key system security issues identified in its interim report published in December 2016: the management of frequency and of system strength in a power system with reduced levels of synchronous generation.

Download directions paper

Download information sheet

Emergency frequency control schemes protect the power system following a major disturbance, such as the failure of a large generator. These schemes shed load or generation in a controlled and coordinated manner in order to prevent major blackouts. They are essential to maintaining a secure and reliable supply of electricity for consumers.

The South Australian Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy submitted two rule changes that were designed to enhance the frameworks for emergency frequency control schemes in the National Electricity Market. As these two rule change requests relate to similar matters, the AEMC decided to consolidate them under s.93(1) of the National Electricity Law.

The Commission has published a final determination and a final rule to give effect to the consolidated rule change request.The final rule includes:

  • A clear framework to regularly review current and emerging power system frequency risks, and then identify and implement the most efficient means of managing emergency frequency events.
  • An enhanced process to develop emergency frequency control schemes to allow for the efficient use of all available technological solutions to limit the consequences of emergency frequency events, including a formalised arrangement for the management of over-frequency events.
  • A new classification of contingency event, the protected event, that will allow the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) to manage the system at all times by using some ex-ante operational solutions, as well as some limited generation or load shedding, to limit the consequences of the protected event.

This integrated framework for emergency frequency control schemes and protected events will support security of supply for consumers. However, it is important these measures are delivered efficiently, so that costs for consumers are as low as possible. The final rule sets out clear governance arrangements for both, including a robust cost benefit process, to achieve this outcome.

Download final determination

Download information sheet