Smart Wires Inc.

Australia

Transparent planning process

0
MW

of network capacity unlocked

$
0
M

in customer savings

Highlights

In New South Wales, Smart Wires is partnering with Transgrid to increase transfer capacity, reduce congestion and enable more renewable energy to reach cities like Sydney and Canberra. The project unlocked 170 megawatts (MW) of capacity — enough to power 30,000 homes from renewable generation – and avoided the need for a new transmission line through a national park.

In Victoria, Smart Wires partnered with AusNet Services to enhance system security and provide immediate constraint relief — unlocking 15 MW of capacity. Deploying SmartValves also allowed AusNet to import more power from New South Wales to Victoria, reducing the risk of supply shortfalls.

In South Australia, Smart Wires teamed up with ElectraNet to reduce wind curtailment and unlock an additional 17 MW of capacity. By installing Smart Wires’ technology, ElectraNet is supporting the state government’s focus on increasing renewable energy generation and integration, solving constraint challenges, and ensuring secure energy exports to neighboring states.

A strong regulator, a transparent public planning process, and effective incentive mechanisms encourage utilities to quickly pursue projects that optimize existing networks and save customers money. This ecosystem has enabled utilities to gain familiarity with grid enhancing technologies like SmartValves — and the confidence to deploy these solutions to solve large-scale challenges to deliver a lower-cost, cleaner grid for consumers.

Overview

Australia is undergoing a rapid transition from fossil fuels to renewables. After the 2022 elections — in which the Australian people delivered a clear mandate for aggressive climate action — that transition is likely to accelerate further.

Smart Wires partners with many of the largest utilities in Australia to deliver cheaper, cleaner energy from remote generation sources to population centers — with minimal community and environmental impact.

Smart Wires’ technology is now embraced across the country, simultaneously delivering targeted benefits on small projects and solving large, system-wide problems across major networks. We anticipate playing an even bigger role as the country pursues new climate and energy targets.

Regulation deep dive

The Australian Energy Regulator plays a key role in Australia’s planning ecosystem, encouraging low-cost, high-benefit solutions through its Regulatory Investment Test for Transmission (RIT-T). RIT-T focuses on large infrastructure projects that can increase reliability and security, enable renewables, boost geographic diversity and expand transmission between states.

Under the RIT-T process, an independent actor identifies network needs and proposes solutions. The public is invited to comment on these alternatives, which are then evaluated based on their capacity to deliver consumer benefits. In many cases, and because RIT-T ensures transparency and facilitates an open assessment of alternatives, grid enhancing technologies are adopted and implemented more quickly than conventional infrastructure, providing tangible benefits for customers.

While RIT-T focuses on large, interstate projects, the regulator also encourages utilities to pursue smaller, faster projects via the Network Capability Incentive Parameter Action Plan (NCIPAP). These projects are cost-limited to 6M AUD and must increase network capability and provide net market benefits (such as lowering consumer energy costs or deferring the need for more capital-intensive projects). NCIPAP projects also receive a 50 percent greater return — a powerful additional incentive that utilities like ElectraNet and AusNet have used to deploy Smart Wires’ innovative technology. Smart Wires’ partnership with Transgrid was also initially facilitated by NCIPAP funding; today, Transgrid has integrated Smart Wires technology into normal business operations via the RIT-T process.

Both RIT-T and NCIPAP complement the Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO) Integrated System Plan (ISP). Published every two years, the ISP provides a national roadmap for grid development — one that allows for more effective coordination between states. These large-scale planning efforts play an important role in Australia’s energy transition, with national authorities identifying key network needs, and utilities proposing and delivering projects to meet those needs.

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