A Blow to our Wind?

Our wind project has been moving ahead steadily. BUT ….

The WA Government has identified a need to reform the current rules governing access to the South West Integrated System (SWIS) by Generators because those rules often impose costs on proposed new generators that make them uneconomic.

The proposed reform involves adopting a “constrained” access model within the SWIS which is expected to be in place by 2022. However, the current rules apply until the reform is implemented and have the potential to delay the wind farm part of our project.

Currently Western Power assesses the impact of a new generator on other generators and on the transmission system, which already has areas of significant congestion. If a new generator limits the transmission capacity available to another generator, or the system, then Western Power must make an “augmentation” or upgrade to prevent that occurring. The entire cost of the upgrade is borne by the new generator, even though much of the congestion already exists and often occurs far away from the locality of the proposed new generator.
For our project, preliminary studies by Western Power indicate severe congestion exists in the transmission lines at Pinjarra and our Beenup facility would increase the congestion in those lines from 110% to 110.3%. Application of the current rules would result in our small project being required to pay for alleviating the entire 10.3% and not just the 0.3% attributable to it. The cost would be enormous and certain to make the project uneconomic.

Western Power are reviewing the findings to see if there is a low-cost compromise that can allow the project to proceed.

Here’s How We Can Possibly Power Ahead

  1. We continue with our current planned connection in 2020 if Western Power are able to provide an acceptable low-cost compromise. An assessment would also be undertaken of the impact of the proposed rule reform on revenue and costs post 2022 to ensure the project remains economically viable.
  2. We continue to progress our connection application, but with an access date after October 2022 when constraints are introduced but augmentation costs may not apply.

We are waiting on the review of lower cost options with WP but some advice supports the less costly option to access after 2022.