The energy industry transformation is gaining momentum at both ends of the energy supply chain; from large-scale generation and transmission to the distribution and consumer level. This change is creating opportunities and challenges to make the power system more productive and efficient, with the clear goal of delivering continued reliability and security at the lowest long-term cost for consumers, while meeting emissions reduction targets.

There is a pressing need for nation energy planning, which considers how these transformations affect the need for infrastructure development and how the essential technical requirements of the power grid will continue to be efficiently met, taking a perspective across the whole National Electricity Market (NEM).

To this end, under its role as national transmission planner, AEMO is currently preparing an inaugural Integrated System Plan (ISP) for the National Electricity Market (NEM). The ISP was recommended by the Independent Review into the Future Security of the NEM (Finkel Review), and will be released in July 2018.

The ISP will by necessity consider a wide spectrum of interconnected infrastructure and energy developments including transmission, generation, gas pipelines, and distributed energy resources. Further information regarding AEMO's consultation process is available here.

The first ISP in June 2018 will deliver a strategic infrastructure development plan, based on sound engineering and economics, which can facilitate an orderly energy system transition under a range of scenarios. In particular, the ISP will consider the concept of renewable energy zones (REZ) and, if REZs are identified, how to develop them, as well as other transmission development options such as increased interconnection.

AGL’s preliminary submission to AEMO’s consultation paper on the ISP is available here.