In the western parts of Victoria, rich in solar and wind resources, many solar and wind projects are stuck because of grid stability and access problems. They are facing lengthy delays in getting connected, and even when connected, their output is curtailed. However, progress is afoot.
After years of squabbles with a recalcitrant federal government (which is responsible for the funding of interconnectors), the Victorian, New South Wales (NSW), and South Australia governments are moving ahead with upgrades of their own. This will unlock this renewables-rich area and supply power to the Renewable Energy Zones planned for these states.
It will be timed well with the proposal to build the Watta Wella renewable energy hub near Stawell in Western Victoria. This area is equidistant from Melbourne, and borders NSW and South Australia. The plans are still in their early stages and will include a 315 MW wind farm, a 62.5 MW solar farm, and a 400MW/1200MWh big battery.
Eastern Australia has plans to more than double its output from solar farms in the next few years, and the Australian Electricity Market Operator (AEMO) is scrambling to update its rules and its transmission lines to keep up. These were developed when it was likely that only one power plant would enter the grid in a year. At the moment, it is adding something like 5 power plants at once.
AEMO is slowly working through the issues and expectations are high that curtailment will be lifted and the queue of generators waiting to join the grid will be shortened.