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A new final rule has been published by the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) that is set to improve the process for creating new grid connections for renewable projects. 

The R1 assessment requires generators and large-scale storage providers to demonstrate they can meet performance standards before being registered in the national electricity market. 

A lack of clear obligations and timeframes were identified in the connections process following extensive industry collaboration as part of the Connection Reform Initiative (CRI). It led to a rule change request by the Clean Energy Council (CEC), which said the issues were causing long delays and investment uncertainty.  

After stakeholder engagement, the AEMC has made a more preferable final rule to the CEC’s proposal, designed to address the gaps and create more certainty for all parties.   

It includes the removal of barriers to timely connections and clearer obligations on both the connection applicants, as well as the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and network service providers (NSPs).  

Additionally, there is an increased focus on transparency during the R1 assessment, that will require AEMO to update its registration information resource and guidelines. 

AEMC Chair, Anna Collyer, said that the final rule strikes the right balance for the transition.  

“With nearly 600 renewable energy generation and storage projects currently in the connection queue, it is critical that we speed up the process without compromising system security,” Ms Collyer said.  

“The final rule will help bring safe, clean and more affordable electricity to Australian homes and businesses sooner. 

“It also aims to create greater certainty for the future clean energy investors that are needed to reach the nation’s emissions reduction targets.”  

The rule commences on 11 July 2024, with AEMO required to update its registration information by no later than 1 March 2025. 

Image: Lee Charlie/shutterstock.com  

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