Record number of renewables entered grid in 2020, record number joined the queue too


According to the Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO) second State of the System update, 12 generators with a total capacity of 1,560 MW began commercial operations in the National Energy Market (NEM) in 2020. However, it is not all good news as a further 32 generators with a total capacity of 3,301 MW which completed their registration in 2020 are still waiting to come online. 

AEMO says these projects will begin commercial operation “in coming weeks and months.” However, considering how long some of these projects have already been waiting, such as the 81 MW Yatpool Solar Farm in the notoriously grid limited region of north-west Victoria, a project that has been in the queue for over a year. Other examples include the 200 MW Sunraysia Solar Farm, the 170 MW Wellington Solar Farm, the 110 MW Glenrowan West Solar Farm.

The notorious north-west of Victoria, part of the West Murray Zone, is said by AEMO to be making “good progress”. There is currently 3.6 GW across 29 projects still in the application stage in the West Murray Zone and AEMO says that it has finalised a new sequencing approach for uncommitted projects. 

So, a record number of projects came online, but it seems as if a record number have also joined the queue. Indeed, AEMO says that 2020 also saw 15 projects with a total capacity of 3,004 MW have completed the first stage of connection, making them committed projects but not yet energy-generating ones. 

Nevertheless, AEMO is also happy to declare that the pandemic seems to have not affected the interest and progression of new projects, and that the number of inquiries and applications for batteries have “increased substantially.” 

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