South West Interconnected System transformation

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Provision of affordable and reliable electricity services
Priority Initiative
Location
South West WA
Geography
Smaller cities and regional centres
Category
Efficient Markets
Problem/Opportunity timeframe
Near term (0-5 years)
Proposed By
WA Government
Date added to the IPL
16 February 2020

Problem

Western Australia’s main electricity network, the South West Interconnected System (SWIS), serves most of the state’s population, with more than 1.1 million customers.

The SWIS is geographically and electrically isolated, with no interconnections to other transmission systems. It was planned and developed around centralised, large-scale, dispatchable generation.

Major investment in network infrastructure and firming capacity is now required to meet the challenges (and opportunities) associated with integrating significant levels of utility-scale renewables and distributed energy resources. The Australian Energy Market Operator has warned that, without planning for and responding to these challenges, the SWIS will be at risk of experiencing widespread outages within the next five years.

Proposed initiative

The initiative involves network, generation and storage investment in the SWIS, including:

  • implementing energy storage and other energy-generating technologies to maintain system security

  • replacing end-of-life network infrastructure in areas with low customer density

  • investing in transmission infrastructure to link generation in renewable energy zones to existing demands, and support new demands and security of supply at the fringes of the grid.

Next steps

Proponent to identify initiatives and develop options (Stage 2 of Infrastructure Australia’s Assessment Framework).