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The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has published the Engineering Framework – Initial Roadmap, outlining the operational and engineering requirements needed for the transition to the future renewable-heavy National Electricity Market (NEM). 

Developed over months of stakeholder consultation, the report builds on existing insights and collaboration during the development of the  Engineering Framework March 2021 report and  Operational Conditions report.

The roadmap summarising the technical requirements and strategic design decisions needed to enable the futures envisioned in AEMO’s Integrated System Plan (ISP).

AEMO Manager of Future Energy Systems, Chris Davies, said, “As Australia’s power system transitions from centralised generation to a decentralised system consisting of grid-scale and residential resources, careful engineering and intentional design are essential to support increasingly complex operational dynamics. 

“Strong and immediate industry collaboration is needed to align on priorities, design, and approach for power system architecture and resilience that will ensure a secure and efficient transition and enable positive consumer outcomes.”

The report summarises the outcomes and insights from the recent gap identification process undertaken in consultation with stakeholders, and presents an initial roadmap of key decisions and summarisation of potential priorities for industry consideration.

Some key insights include:

  • Uncertainty and variability are increasing, while technology and business model innovation outpaces planning and reforms
  • Approaches to design, investment decisions, and construction of new assets need to adapt to keep pace with transition
  • Social licence must be sought as a foundational element in developing two-way markets, infrastructure projects, and energy reforms
  • Frameworks to manage connections, planning, and operational analysis need to be scalable and reflect pace of change
  • Decision-makers need to urgently align on priorities, timing, and approach for additional key transition efforts beyond work in progress

The report represents a further step in the ongoing collaborative development of the Engineering Framework with stakeholders and provides the foundation for engagement in early 2022.

“Working together as an industry, we have the opportunity to plan our way through these changes to provide a sustainable energy system that delivers affordable, safe and reliable energy for all Australians,” Mr Davies said. 

A Q&A forum on 3 February 2022 will provide an opportunity for stakeholders to ask questions about the content included in the report, and to explore the critical next steps of collaborative prioritisation. 

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