Part of Powerlink’s role is to plan and review the future of Queensland’s electricity transmission network to meet forecast electricity demands.
Powerlink reviews the transmission network annually to assess its ability to meet forecast electricity needs for the next 10 years. The review helps ensure that existing network assets are assessed for their enduring network requirements in a manner that is economic, safe and reliable. The review also identifies potential solutions to meet increases in electricity demand, well in advance of when action is needed.
Powerlink publishes these review findings in the Transmission Annual Planning Report (TAPR), a technical document that includes information about the potential future need for asset reinvestment (replacing existing assets) or network augmentation (increasing the network’s ability to carry more electricity).
Potential solutions to replace network assets or help increase the capacity of Queensland’s high voltage transmission network over a $6 million threshold must comply with the requirements of the Regulatory Investment Test for Transmission (RIT-T) as defined in the National Electricity Rules. The RIT-T applies the economic assessment framework developed by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) to ensure recommended solutions have maximum net economic benefits.
The public consultation process requests submissions from Registered Participants, AEMO and interested parties (including non-network solution providers) on the proposed options. Transmission network, distribution network or non-network alternatives (such as demand management or local generation) are considered as options for both reinvestment and augmentation needs.
The RIT-T applies to transmission augmentation investment consultations initiated from 1 August 2010 onwards and more recently for network asset replacements from 18 September 2017.
Stage one where a Project Specification Consultation Report is published
This gives Registered Participants, AEMO and Interested Parties an opportunity to provide feedback and advice regarding credible options such as:to maintain reliability of supply or to meet growing electricity demand in a particular area. The Consultation Report is open for comment for 12 weeks. A summary of the Consultation Report is placed on the AEMO website, with the full version of the Consultation Report available on the current consultation page.
- asset replacement
- network configuration
- decommissioning of assets
- building new transmission lines or substations; and/or
- non-network solutions (including local electricity generation or demand side management)
Stage two where a Project Assessment Draft Report is published
This contains a summary of the feedback and advice received on the Consultation Report, an economic assessment of credible options, and identification of the preferred option. This provides an opportunity for Registered Participants, AEMO and Interested Parties to provide feedback on the preferred option. The Draft Report is open for comment for six weeks. A summary of the Draft Report is placed on the AEMO website, with the full version of the Draft Report available on the current consultation page.
Stage three where a Project Assessment Conclusions Report is published
This follows the review and analysis of feedback received on the Draft Report outlining the final decision for moving forward. The Conclusions Report takes into consideration feedback received and outlines a course of action to ensure a reliable and cost-efficient solution to address network asset replacement or an area’s growing demand. A summary of the Conclusions Report is placed on the AEMO website, with the full version of the Conclusions Report available on the current consultation page.
Sometimes an Assessment Report does not have to be prepared. This happens when the cost of the preferred option identified in the Consultation Report is less than $41 million and has no material market benefits. In these instances, feedback and advice on the Consultation Report is to be addressed in the Conclusions Report (Stage three).