Electrical, Sustainability, Western Australia

Enabling clean energy transition – Major reforms in Western Australia

Western Australia’s Wholesale Electricity Market (WEM) commenced operating with new capabilities developed to support the state’s energy transformation.

As part of the Western Australian (WA) Government’s Energy Transformation Strategy (ETS), AEMO in collaboration with government agencies, industry and market participants, has delivered extensive reforms to the WEM, which went live on 1 October 2023.

The WEM facilitates the buying and selling of electricity for the Southwest Interconnected System or SWIS, WA’s main power system, which provides electricity to about 1.2 million residential and business customers via 7,500 km of transmission and 93,350 km of distribution power lines.

AEMO Executive General Manager WA and Strategy, Kate Ryan, said the existing market was no longer fit-for-purpose to facilitate the state’s energy transition to net zero emissions.

“Only a decade ago, more than 90 per cent of all electricity used in WA’s main power system was generated by burning coal and gas. Today, the wind and the sun account for around a third of our annual electricity supply, peaking at about 84 per cent, at times,” she said.

“These reforms modernise the power system in Western Australia and lay the foundations for it to run on growing levels of renewables, while delivering secure, reliable and affordable energy to consumers.”

The reformed WEM will also provide a more competitive market matching real-time demand for electricity with the lowest cost sources of generation, while maintaining power system security and reliability.

AEMO’s WEM Reform program involved an immense amount of work in developing new capabilities and associated processes and systems.

The program also focused on supporting AEMO and market participants in preparing for the new market.

“AEMO’s significant reform package to the WEM lays the groundwork for an orderly transition to cleaner, more affordable and reliable electricity in the SWIS,” Ms Ryan said.

“Delivering this complex reform is a terrific example of the collaboration across AEMO, government, industry and market bodies that will be needed to navigate the energy transition.”

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