The AEMC today published a draft determination on two rule change requests relating to the procurement, testing and deployment of system restart ancillary services (SRAS). 

System restart services are provided by generators with the ability to start operating without drawing power from the grid. They help to kick-start the power system by providing energy to other generators following a major blackout, which in turn restore supply to customers.

The draft rule enables system restart processes to adapt to the changing generation mix and introduction of new technologies in the power system. In particular, the draft rule:

  • allows the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) to procure a broader range of services as SRAS. There are fewer traditional sources of SRAS (i.e. large, synchronous generators) available in some regions, and those that remain are potentially less capable of restoring the power system. By expanding the definition of SRAS, new generators and other technologies, such as utility scale batteries, can offer these services. 
  • establishes a transparent framework for the physical testing of system restart paths along the network. This will complement the existing testing of SRAS generators that is routinely undertaken. 
  • clarifies the communication processes parties must follow with respect to SRAS.
  • clarifies that AEMO can take long-term costs into account when procuring SRAS. This will make it easier for AEMO to enter into long-term contracts with new SRAS providers where appropriate. 

Submissions on the draft determination are due by 20 February 2020.

Media: Kellie Bisset, Media and Content Manager, 0438 490 041; (02) 8296 7813


SRAS are procured by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO). SRAS is currently provided by generators with the capability to start, or remain in service, without electricity being provided from the grid. Once an SRAS provider has restarted its own plant, it provides energy to restart other generators and commence the processes required to restore the power system. This process is then carefully managed by AEMO, networks and other generators so that power is restored to customers as quickly as possible.

SRAS are a key part of the resilience of the power system in the national electricity market to major shocks. Resilience is about the ability of the power system to avoid, survive and recover from these shocks, like severe storm events, which can potentially result in major blackouts. While other first line defence mechanisms exist to protect against these blackouts, it’s also necessary to ensure that we can recover quickly, if they do occur. We also need to make sure that the process of recovering the system is properly coordinated and runs smoothly, so power can be restored to customers as quickly as possible.