Regulation of large transmission projects

Sector: 
Segment: 
Status: 
Date initiated: 
17 November 2020
Contact: 
Transmission Investment Regulation review TIRreview@aer.gov.au

Overview

The AER has commenced a program of work to support the efficient and timely delivery of large transmission projects, identified as ‘actionable’ in AEMO’s Integrated System Plans (ISPs). The work program includes:

  • Delivery of three non-binding guidance notes to improve the predictability and transparency of the contingent project application process, project staging, and ex-post measures for actionable ISP projects. Each guidance note will complement and support our existing guidelines.
  • Exploration of other opportunities to amend the regulatory framework to further improve the assessment and/or delivery outcomes of actionable ISP projects in the medium to longer term.

The recent reforms to make the ISP actionable have changed the way transmission planning is undertaken. AEMO’s 2020 ISP identifies a number of actionable projects which it forecasts to cost between $6.8 and $12.7 billion over the period 2022-32.  The magnitude of this investment in large non-recurrent transmission projects is unprecedented, particularly when compared to the current transmission regulatory asset bases ($21.4 billion), which have remained relatively stable over the past decade.

Given these circumstances, we want to ensure our regulatory tools remain fit-for-purpose to effectively assess forecast expenditure for these projects against the criteria set out in the National Electricity Rules. This will promote the efficient and timely delivery of actionable ISP projects, and ensure consumers pay no more than necessary for these large projects, consistent with the National Electricity Objective.

On 17 November 2020, we published a letter outlining this program of work and setting out our initial views on the three guidance notes, to facilitate early stakeholder engagement. Alongside the letter we published a report by HoustonKemp, which we used to inform our work program and initial views. HoustonKemp’s report scopes the challenges and reform options associated with assessing large transmission projects under the regulatory framework.

Focus groups

As part of its consultation process the AER is holding focus groups to discuss the initial views on the guidance notes set out in the letter. We encourage interested stakeholders to register to attend a focus group to provide input and contribute to the development of the guidance notes. The same content will be discussed at each focus group so stakeholders only need to attend one session and can elect which session best suits them.

Registration details

Location: Online focus groups using Microsoft Teams
Dates: 

  • Wednesday, 25 November 2020, 11:00am – 12:15pm
  • Wednesday, 25 November 2020, 2:00pm – 3:15pm
  • Thursday, 26 November 2020, 2:00pm – 3:15pm.

Register: Please email RSVPs to TIRreview@aer.gov.au with attendee name(s), organisation and selected focus group date.