Solar and wind farms face more production cutbacks in NSW and Victoria

Solar and wind farms

The Australian Energy Market Operator has flagged new generation constraints that will affect solar and wind projects in both New South Wales and Victoria Solar, after NSW-based transmission company Transgrid warned of a potential voltage collapse in yet another part of the grid that it operates.AEMO said the new constraints – which will affect the West Murray region of the grid, including south-west NSW and north-west Victoria – followed new modelling that had detected the risk of “voltage collapse” should one of the other major transmission lines in the region trip.

According to Transgrid modelling, the loss of a transmission line in north-west Victoria at a time high wind and solar generation in south-west NSW and north-west Victoria would result in very high power flows through 220 kV transmission lines from Buronga via Balranald to Darlington Point and, in turn, result in severe under-voltage conditions and voltage collapse at Balranald.

Renewable energy projects in the area have already suffered deeply due to network issues, including five solar farms in Victoria and NSW that had their output cut in half for more than seven months from last September to mid April due to avoid “voltage oscillations.”

In May, Transgrid issued the first warning to new and existing projects in the south-west of the state, and more recently AEMO effectively put up the “house full” sign for the area, saying there was effectively no place for new projects without further significant investment in network infrastructure.
The NSW government has identified the south-west of NSW as a site of one of its three planned renewable energy zones. This region hosts some of the best solar resources in the state, and some good wind resources.