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Australia's energy transition needs new rules for grid connections

Today, the Clean Energy Council is formally proposing a rule change that would provide investors and developers of renewable generation and storage with greater certainty when connecting to the grid.

The Clean Energy Council proposed a set of rule changes to the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) to provide improved investment certainty, supporting the faster connection of more renewables, leading to lower prices and improved power supply for consumers.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive, Kane Thornton said its proposal would give clarity to a process that historically has created serious delays for renewable investors and developers.

“Every Australian has a stake in getting this right and helping bring clean, affordable new power generation to the grid efficiently,” Thornton said.

“Currently, some generators have faced open-ended delays to connection and unmanageable risks, creating a culture of uncertainty for renewable investors.

“If this adds to cost, if this causes delays, if this discourages investment, then it is Australian homes and businesses that ultimately will suffer when it comes time to pay their power bills.”

The initiative addresses serious concerns over costly delays and complexity that have affected a number of projects connecting to the grid. While AEMO and Network Service Providers (NSPs) have worked constructively with industry to address these issues, further changes to lock these improved practices into the energy rules provide everyone greater certainty and clarity.

Peter Cowling, Head of Australia, Mint Renewables, said, “The connection process has been crying out for reform. These proposed changes are a response to that, arising from a long collaborative process involving hundreds of people from right across the industry. They are exciting because they demonstrate what we can do when we work together with a common goal. We will need to do a lot more problem-solving like this to achieve a rapid and just transition.” 

The Clean Energy Council and the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) have been working with networks and a wide collaboration of industry leaders to improve the connection process as part of the Connections Reform Initiative. The Clean Energy Council and its members have initiated this proposed rule change.

In early 2020, they brought together Clean Energy Council members, NSPs and other industry stakeholders to form the Connections Reform Initiative to address concerns with the delays and the increasing complexity of connections.

Clean Energy Council Policy Director of Market, Grid & Investment, Christiaan Zuur said the group is focused on improving the clarity of the rules and procedures around the registration stages of the connection process.

“Our overall aim is to make the connections process for new utility-scale renewable generation and storage work better for everyone involved,” Zuur said.

“It’s been a real eye-opener in terms of demonstrating a different way to make change in the National Electricity Market. Goodwill from AEMO, networks and industry has allowed us to work as equals and find common sense solutions to previously intractable problems.”

The initiative is hoping to achieve:

  • A consistent and predictable connections process that delivers repeatable outcomes
  • Reduce re-work and improve efficiency and quality of information
  • Create a collaborative working model between industry, AEMO and the NSPs.

For further information on the proposed rule change:

Click here for full detail of the rule change proposal

Follow this link for more detail on the Connections Reform Initiative


For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:

Jane Aubrey
Clean Energy Council Public Affairs Manager
[email protected]
+61 409 470 683