The Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO) real-time simulator project has completed a proof-of-concept stage and is now embarking on system development, ahead of an expected launch by mid-2022.
The simulator will enhance AEMO’s ability to prepare for and quickly respond to events threatening secure power-system operations in the National Electricity Market.
Advancing AEMO’s current simulation capabilities, the new electromagnetic transient (EMT) simulator captures and predicts the behaviour of asynchronous generation (wind, solar and battery storage), which operate differently from coal, hydro and gas-fired generators.
AEMO’s Chief Operations Officer, Michael Gatt, said that the simulator will benefit members, energy participants and all energy users.
“AEMO’s is responsible for operating the power systems and markets safely, securely and affordably, along with planning Australia’s energy future alongside our members and industry,” Mr Gatt said.
“Australia’s power system is experiencing a transition from centralised synchronous generation to increasing installations of weather-dependent, inverter-based asynchronous generation at a pace and penetration level not seen in any other major interconnected system.
“The new simulator will add the capability to better address emerging operating challenges, improve efficiency for industry participants, while unlocking value for consumers to run the grid to maximum efficiency and better integrate low-marginal cost renewable generation,” he said.
In 2019, AEMO and the CSIRO initiated a feasibility study, with funding support from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s (ARENA) Advancing Renewables Program. The study identified an urgent need for an Australian Energy Simulation Centre (AESC), including a ‘real-time’ simulator as the cornerstone component.
AEMO’s latest data highlights the rapid growth in proposed solar and wind projects, continuing the rapid pace of change experienced in the NEM last year, with new records set for both the number of new electricity generation projects and megawatt (MW) capacity.
AEMO has taken the prudent financial and operational decision to proceed with a simulator that has foundational elements of the AESC to address the most urgent requirements related to power system security.
“The new simulator will perform power system studies in close to real-time utilising the HYPERSIM platform from OPAL-RT and integrating existing asynchronous plant models to avoid any imposition on plant operators and developers,” Mr Gatt said.