Pacific Hydro and Hornsdale pay over $ 1.6 million in fines for energy regulation violations – pv magazine Australia

Pacific Hydro Clements Gap (Pacific Hydro) was fined $ 1.1 million by federal court for violating the National Electricity Rules for failing to obtain written approval for critical system settings in their wind farms.

July 2, 2021

It does so on the same day that HWF 1 (Hornsdale) was fined $ 550,000 by federal court for violating the same rules in an AER trial.

AER Chair Clare Savage said such rule violations have the potential to compromise system security and be taken seriously.

“As we rely more and more on new forms of generation with different technical characteristics, it is more important than ever that all generators comply with the regulations so that households and businesses can keep the lights on,” said Savage.

“It is of the utmost importance that producers obtain written approval for the system settings of their generating units from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) in order to ensure the safety of the electricity network and the effective operation of the wholesale energy market.”

Both proceedings were initiated following an AER investigation into the circumstances of the Black System event, which resulted in a blackout of 850,000 customer lines across South Australia on September 28, 2016.

Pacific Hydro admitted that from August 2013 to October 2016 it applied repeated low voltage ride-through system (LVRT) settings to the generating units of the Clements Gap wind farm without prior written approval from AEMO and ElectraNet.

LVRT system settings are required, among other things, to allow generators to withstand voltage disturbances to ensure continuity of power supply.

Hornsdale admitted applying LVRT system settings to the generating units of the Hornsdale wind farm from June 2016 to October 2016 without prior written approval from AEMO and ElectraNet.

In each case, Judge White stated in his ruling that “using unauthorized settings in the present case affected AEMO’s ability to meet its responsibilities as it meant it was making important decisions about the safe operating limits of the grid”. due to incomplete information “.

The court also ordered Pacific Hydro and Hornsdale to contribute to the costs of the AER and to run programs to ensure compliance with the National Electricity Rules.

Pacific Hydro and Hornsdale have also made enforceable pledges to AER recognizing AER’s concern that their wind farms have not been driven by low voltage grid disturbances, as per their generator performance standards (GPS).

Under the commitments, Pacific Hydro and Hornsdale will update their GPS for the wind farms and have the updates checked by an independent expert and then approved by ElectraNet and AEMO.

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