Solar and wind projects may be delayed up to 7 years and owners are unsure of when they’ll be able to fully connect to the grid. The grid constraints are currently threatening over 5,000 jobs in renewable energy development and $6.28 billion in investment. The reason for these constraints is due to a lack of a coherent federal policy, as well as grid connection issues.
Clean Energy Council chief executive Kane Thornton said, “these issues need to be resolved urgently if Australia hopes to attract investors and ensure the necessary level of new energy generation capacity.” Thornton continues, “Renewable energy has been the shining light in reducing emissions in Australia. If we hope to maintain this, we need strong leadership and collaboration to address policy gaps and regulatory barriers facing new generation.”
The crux of the issue exists in “system strength” concerns in the West Murray region of the National Electricity Market, an allegedly weak part of the grid that includes areas of western Victoria and large areas of south west NSW. Five solar farms, four of them in Victoria, had their output cut in half last September as a precautionary measure. Their supplier looked to “re-tune” their inverters to overcome the risk of “severe oscillations” and voltage issues in the event of a network fault.
Once the solution is found, these constraints could start to become relaxed.
Some projects have been built but there’s no indication of when they will be switched on. These issues only highlight Australia’s lack of planning and investment in grid infrastructure.