Article   |   Mark Andrews   |   17.02.2022

Gearing up for a busy 2022

With an order book of new contracts worth in excess of AUS $8 million, our Grid & Power Systems team is currently working on 30 utility scale projects and with plans to expand into two new continents, 2022 is looking like a busy one!

The new work secured predominantly entails supporting developers of renewable energy projects – primarily wind, solar PV or battery of utility scale (>5MW) – in the Australian market. The majority of developments are between 100MW and 300MW in scale, however there are some over 1GW each.

Our team delivers specialist grid consultancy services to a range of clients, from small developers to large international energy companies – we support up to 50% of the Australian market.

There are four core categories for the capabilities delivered by the team across different phases of a project’s development:

Feasibility – providing strategic support to help clients identify the best location in the existing grid to connect to.

Conceptual grid connection studies – conducting studies on the impact of the proposed generator’s connection to the grid, looking at how the grid operates and its stability under different conditions when the new plant is connected.

Detailed grid connection studies – performing a detailed analysis of the grid connection following construction of the generating plant to prove the impact on the grid matches the outcome of the conceptual studies.

Commissioning and as-building of power systems models – preparing commissioning plans which enable the EPC contractor to physically test the performance of the new plant and its impact on the grid.

With renewable energy industries developing at pace in India and the US, Mark Andrews, VP for Grid and Power Systems, is expanding the geographic reach of the business, establishing a presence in both locations.

Priyanka Swain has been appointed to lead the development of an Indian Grid and Power Systems team, with a view to creating a team of six by the end of 2022, expanding this to around 15 by 2024. Her team will support the Australian and North American grid markets as well as looking at opportunities closer to home.

With grid services in high demand in the US, the team is currently recruiting for a Team Manager/Principal Engineer to be based in North America. With the US grid going through extensive changes, similar to the situation in Australia over the last decade, there are plenty of opportunities and it’s anticipated that we will have a team of up to four by the end of 2022, rising to potentially 10 by 2024.

Mark said: “The Australian market is being driven by the commercial reality that renewables is cheaper than fossil fuels. Developers can build new generation and sell it in the electricity market if they can successfully connect to the grid and have a buyer for their electrons. If this energy is cheaper than other suppliers, then those other suppliers are pushed out. Many coal generators are not able to sell their energy during daylight hours as they cannot compete with the low price of solar PV. Unfortunately for them they can’t turn their plants off, so they still have running costs.

“This is accelerating their exit from the energy market. In addition, there is growing acceptance about the move away from fossil fuels and the electrification of transport and heating/cooling and the effect this will have on the need for new electricity generation.

“There is also an aspiration for Australia to become a ‘hydrogen superpower’ which will require many hundreds of GWs of new generation – approximately 10-20 times the size of the existing Australian grid. This generation for hydrogen production isn’t our core market at present but does show where the market will be moving over the next decade. Safe to say that the renewables industry in Australia has many, many years of growth to come.”

Safe to say that the renewables industry in Australia has many, many years of growth to come

Mark Andrews

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