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Renew Economy:

Australia’s fleet of ageing thermal power stations will be asked to provide more clarity and explanation about anticipated outages as energy market regulators grapple with an increase in breakdowns and maintenance and the growth of wind and solar.

The Australian Energy Market Commission says it is worried about changing patterns in outages, both as a result of maintenance and as a result of “economic” choices, such as avoiding periods of low prices.

“Less flexible generators are changing their operating schedules as they near the end of their technical life,” AEMC chair Anna Collyer says in a statement accompanying the draft rule change that was published on Thursday.

The AEMC wants more clarity about forecast outages, including the reasons why generators may be offline and to provide an estimate of how quickly a generator could be brought back online.

Generators are already required provide estimates of the amount of generation capacity they can make available to the market each day, along with projections stretching out 36-month in advance – as part of the ‘medium-term projected assessment of system adequacy’, known as MT Pasa.

But regulators are seeking more detail the about the underlying causes of outages.

Under the proposed rule change, generators would be required to lodge a “reason” and a “recall time” when submitting their expected availability to provide an indication of their ability to return to operation should the need arise.

“When those generators signal the reasons for their outages, it will inform operational, policy and investment decisions across the marketplace as the energy transition continues,” Collyer says.

[Michael Mazengarb]

More: Regulators demand more clarity from ageing power stations about expected outages

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