Tilt Renewables in Federal Court over alleged breaches of the National Electricity Rules

The company that owns Crookwell 1 Wind Farm is one of the four operators taken to the Federal Court for alleged breaches of the National Electricity Rules.

The breaches against Tilt Renewables relate to the operation of Snowtown 2 Wind Farm at the time of the state-wide blackout in SA on September 28, 2016.

Crookwell I: The Crookwell I Wind Farm in the recent snow. Photo Clare McCabe.

Crookwell I: The Crookwell I Wind Farm in the recent snow. Photo Clare McCabe.

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About 850,000 customers lost power in SA on that day, after a one-in-50-year storm took out huge transmission lines and other electricity infrastructure.

The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has commenced proceedings against subsidiaries of AGL Energy Limited, Neoen SA, Pacific Hydro Pty Ltd and Tilt Renewables Limited in connection with wind farms they operated in South Australia.

It is alleged the wind farm operators failed to ensure their equipment complied with generation performance standards and technical criteria associated with connection to the National Energy Market.

In addition, it is alleged that operators failed to provide automatic protection systems to enable them to ride-through voltage disturbances to ensure continuity of supply.

"These alleged failures contributed to the black system event, and meant that Australian Energy Market Operator was not fully informed when responding to system wide failure in SA in September 2016," AER chair Paula Conboy said.

General manager of operation and trading at Tilt Renewables, Nigel Baker, said his company had complied with regulation.

"We really can't say much because it is before the courts. It is a very technical issue. Our position is that we believe we have complied at all times," he said.

In a statement, the Australian Wind Alliance maintains the case is relevant mainly to the 2016 energy grid and has no bearing on today's energy grid. The national coordinator Andrew Bray said that since the blackout the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has been on a learning curve.

"Since the blackout, the AEMO have implemented 19 separate actions to enhance power system security and improve the way they manage catastrophic storms.

"This is a historical case that looks back at how the market operator worked with wind farms three years ago. It doesn't reflect the way the system works today.

"Once-in-a-lifetime storms such as the one we witnessed in South Australia three years ago are something grid operators around the world are now having to plan for."

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