South Australia’s electricity grid will be strengthened after a project to install synchronous condensers received final regulatory approval from the Australian Energy Regulator today.

ElectraNet Chief Executive Steve Masters said final approval means the first two of four planned synchronous condensers will be installed at the Davenport substation in mid-2020. The second two will be installed at the Robertstown substation by the end of 2020.

“Today’s news is a positive step forward in strengthening South Australia’s electricity network to accommodate the increase in renewable energy entering our electricity grid,” Mr Masters said.

“The change in generation sources has created a shortfall in system strength and inertia within the network, which can make the power system less secure, and increase the risk of supply interruptions to customers.”

Synchronous condensers are large machines that work in a similar way to large electric motors and generators. They spin freely and manage changes in system strength, inertia and voltage control to deliver a reliable power supply.

Mr Masters said as well as supporting the transition to more renewable energy sources entering the grid, the synchronous condensers will avoid the need for costly compensation payments to be made to gas-fired generators to meet the system strength shortfall.

This should deliver a net cost saving of $3 to $5 per year on a typical household electricity bill and correspondingly more for larger customers.

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