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In March 2023 Powerlink published a ‘Project Specification Consultation Report’ (PSCR) to address system strength requirements in Queensland from December 2025.

System strength is a measure of the ability of the power system to remain stable by maintaining the voltage waveform, at any given location, both with and without the occurrence of an event or disturbance or fluctuations in supply or demand.

Moving the energy system to much greater levels of Variable Renewable Energy (VRE) generation brings technical challenges to the transmission network, such as the need to ensure system strength is maintained. Given the pace and scale of the energy transformation, rapid uptake of VRE resources and signalled retirement of much of the existing fleet of synchronous generators, it is critical to find alternate solutions to address system strength needs.

As the System Strength Service Provider for Queensland, Powerlink is required to take action to plan, procure and make available system strength services as set out in the 10-year forecast provided in the Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO’s) most recent System Strength Report.

The PSCR proposed two credible options to address both the minimum and efficient levels of system strength. Option 1 would be to procure system strength services to meet the identified need in its entirety for both the minimum and efficient levels of system strength between December 2025 and December 2030. Option 2 is a hybrid solution which would be to procure system strength services, together with the installation and commissioning of up to eight new 200MVA synchronous condensers (network component) for both the minimum and efficient levels of system strength required by December 2030.

System strength services required to be made available beyond 2030 will guided by AEMO’s annual System Strength Report forecasts.

Powerlink invited submissions on the PSCR from proponents who considered they could offer a potential non-network option that is both economically and technically feasible by 2030.

Powerlink also developed a pro forma to assist proponents to prepare their submission material.

Submissions were due by COB Friday, 21 July 2023 and are being reviewed by Powerlink.

In December 2023, Powerlink published example terms that may be included in a Network System Strength Services Agreement between Powerlink and proponents of non-network solutions.

In April 2024, Powerlink requested, and the AER agreed to, an extension of the date by which the Project Assessment Draft Report is to be published to 29 November 2024.

In the context of engagement activities with consumers and the general community, Powerlink has assessed this project as ‘complex’ on the RIT-T stakeholder engagement matrix.

Copies of the Project Specification Consultation Report and Notice of extension to publication of Project Assessment Draft Report are available below.