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Josh Frydenberg - Liberal for Kooyong
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Trialling grid stability services provided by wind farms

Published: Thursday, 8 March 2018

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The Coalition Government, through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), is providing almost $500,000 to a north east Tasmanian wind farm to test the feasibility of wind farms providing services that help stabilise the electricity grid.

If successful, the $1 million trial could see more Australian wind farms providing the services which would not only further stabilise the grid, but also lower electricity prices through commercialisation.

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) continuously balances energy supply and demand by procuring ‘frequency control ancillary services’ (FCAS) from participating generators and demand response providers.

When frequency is too low, it is increased by FCAS to either increase generation or decrease demand. When frequency is too high, it is reduced by FCAS which lowers generation or increases demand.

In other words, the frequency (and stability) of the grid is maintained by providing a fast injection or reduction of energy.

“As Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel in his review of the National Electricity Market highlighted, tighter frequency control is important for increased security,” Minister Frydenberg said.

Woolnorth Wind Farm Holdings own and operate the 168MW Musselroe wind farm which produces approximately five per cent of Tasmania’s electrical energy needs annually.

“Unlike coal and gas power stations, wind farms do not currently provide FCAS. This Tasmanian trial, however, could see that change,” Minister Frydenberg said.

“If both technically and commercially feasible, wind farms across Australia will have the opportunity to contribute to the stability of the grid and develop a new revenue stream that helps lower electricity prices.”

The Coalition Government's investment in this trial is part of our plan to deliver an affordable and reliable energy system as we transition to a lower emissions future.

Woolnorth will also examine the potential of adding storage for surplus energy to the wind farm.

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