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A study completed by Powerlink, which focused on addressing system strength challenges, has emphasised tailored solutions for renewable connections as the key to maintaining grid system strength. 

 Supported by the Australian Renewables Energy Agency (ARENA) and developed with project partners Pacific Hydro, Sun Metals and GHD, the study consists of three reports to increase awareness of system strength and possible solutions to manage the complex issue.

The study includes the following reports:

  1. Managing system strength during the transition to renewables: provides an overview of the role of system strength in the power system and analysis into a centralised approach to addressing low system strength across an area, versus a renewable generator implementing its own solution. 
  1. Assessment of the effectiveness of a centralised synchronous condenser approach: investigates the effectiveness of a synchronous condenser, to facilitate the connection of inverter-based renewables in an area of low system strength
  1. PSCAD assessment of the effectiveness of grid forming batteries: demonstrates and quantifies the effectiveness of grid forming inverters with a battery solution

Powerlink Chief Executive, Paul Simshauser, said the reports delved into the complexity of managing system strength arising from renewable projects connecting to the grid and analysed feasible options to address these challenges.

 “System strength is a complex issue, with the study highlighting there is no one ‘best’ form of system strength remediation that can be applied to all renewable projects,” Mr Simshauser said.

 “The reports demonstrate the merits of each different approach, but really confirms that solutions have to be tailored for renewable proponents by thoroughly reviewing the particular circumstances of the network connection.

“It’s been an incredibly valuable process for Powerlink and one that has really shaped Powerlink’s, and our renewable customers’, understanding of system strength, and how to best manage the challenges.

“The study will also assist in supporting the energy industry more broadly as more renewable projects come online.”

Mr Simshauser said key findings of the study highlighted that a centralised synchronous condenser solution could provide significant network and financial benefit when compared to renewable proponents having to provide their own.

“The final report demonstrated the role grid-forming batteries can play in enabling renewables and supporting the safe and stable operation of the power system,” Mr Simshauser said.

“We’ve found grid forming batteries can supply system strength, as well as other key services which support the network and assist renewable connections to effectively operate.

“Powerlink will apply these learnings to reduce the time, cost and risk of renewable connections to the grid, benefiting both Powerlink and customers in the long term.

“With the recent influx of battery interest by generators and developers in Queensland, we now have a number of opportunities to pilot grid forming batteries and validate our report findings through field studies.

“Our key goal is delivering a safe, reliable and secure transmission network for Queensland and facilitating the transition to a low-carbon future. This study has been another step in the right direction to achieve this.”

 For more information or to read the reports, click here.

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