In December 2022, AEMO published their Engineering Roadmap to 100% Renewables, presenting AEMO’s view of the technical, engineering, and operational actions required to prepare the Australian National Electricity Market (NEM) to securely and reliably operate at 100% instantaneous renewable penetration for the first time. The roadmap is divided into three technical preconditions that must be met:

  • power system security – maintaining the secure technical operating envelope of the power system under increasing renewable penetrations;
  • system operability – securely and reliably operating the power system and transition through increasingly complex operating conditions; and
  • resource adequacy and capability – building the energy resources and network capability to unlock the renewable potential and the flexible capacity to balance variability over different timeframes.

The roadmap also outlines more than 150 actions across the three categories, as well as subcomponents of each action, amounting to around 500 to 600 detailed considerations. Some of the main considerations include fewer synchronous generators online as the older coal fleet retires, and the extensive grid-scale variable renewable energy, rooftop solar, and widespread energy storage that must replace the coal fleet. There are also changes to the patterns of energy use, including structural demand shifts and responsive demand.

AEMO already has experience with operational challenges that put into focus what the operation of their future grid may look like. In Novem