APTP Articles

High Voltage Connection Empowering Renewable Generators with Greater Commercial Benefits

The key to successful NEM connections is ensuring compliance from the start.

The renewable energy landscape is evolving to accommodate Australia’s commitment to transition to net zero by 2050. Ensuring compliance with the regulatory standards determined by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) is a necessary step in bringing energy to market, so why is it sometimes overlooked?

The AER is Australia’s national energy market regulator responsible for monitoring, investigating and enforcing compliance with obligations under applicable national energy laws. 

Achieving generator compliance can be a time-consuming process that pushes out project budgets and timelines for those who go in unprepared. A rise in compliance related infringement penalties has followed a recent influx of new regulations to accommodate the evolving National Electricity Market (NEM).

Testing for compliance is an essential step in connecting to the NEM, yet some registered participants risk fines or infringements by forgoing the process or its necessary documentation. 

Engaging a high voltage specialist allows generators to take advantage of new technologies and gives access to a team that is up to date with the latest regulations

A project that is compliant from the start will ensure all systems and documentation are set up for ongoing compliance, to increase the speed of connection, and to maximise commercial benefits. 

“Understanding obligations and ensuring compliance with generator performance standards is an ongoing and active responsibility for all market participants,” Paul Minett – General Manager New Business, EPEC Group says. 

Real time testing with hardware in the loop technology

EPEC Group has collaborated with the University of Queensland to develop an innovative hardware in the loop (HIL) technology. Using a real-time pre-commissioning platform for integrating distributed photovoltaic energy resources, it streamlines connections, enhances performance and expedites revenue generation.

This technology uses real-time simulation and testing of generator control systems to enable a thorough evaluation of performance and compliance with the National Electricity Rules and associated regulations. 

Prepare for commissioning with hardware in loop 

Validating model performance against the performance of real-world control system software and hardware using HIL technology ensures a seamless transition from construction to commissioning. This mitigates common software-to-hardware benchmarking challenges posed by the aggregated nature of inverter-based systems. This is especially important for hybrid systems seeking to connect via the upcoming Integrated Resource Provider (IRP) framework. EPEC Group’s HIL capability enables generators to identify potential issues, optimise system parameters, and guarantee optimal operation to maximise reliability and performance before commencing R2 hold-point testing.

1. Maximising reliability and performance

By resolving potential issues and optimising system parameters early, operational efficiency of renewable generators is improved. This also minimises the risk of downtime or underperformance, leading to increased profitability and long-term viability for projects.

2. Mitigating risks and ensuring compliance

Proactive identification and resolution of potential issues significantly reduce the likelihood of costly delays, penalties, and regulatory setbacks during the commissioning process. EPEC Group’s expertise in liaising between generator clients and original equipment manufacturer vendors guarantee a streamlined compliance process, so that generators can become compliant registered participants in the National Electricity Market. This eliminates compliance-related worries and provides a competitive advantage in the renewable energy sector.

3. Streamlining commissioning, compliance, and integration

Identifying and resolving integration challenges beforehand empowers generators to save both time and resources. Through comprehensive testing and assessment, working with a high voltage connection specialists can facilitate a smooth transition from construction to commercial operation. This streamlined approach expedites the commissioning phase, accelerating project commercialisation and revenue generation.

4. Empowering on-site engineers

When engineers on-site are empowered to make timely and informed decisions, site performance is optimised, ensuring efficient operations during deployment. High voltage connection specialist can provide hands-on support that fosters confidence among project teams to enhance project execution and delivery.

5. Enhancing confidence and establishing stronger partnerships

Confidence in a project’s reliability and compliance assures stakeholders that the renewables project will deliver as promised, leading to improved long-term viability and sustainable growth. By providing assurance to investors, network operators, and end-users, partnerships are strengthened and attract increased investment opportunities.

EPEC Group