Issues agreed in big battery court action

·2-min read

The Australian Energy Regulator is working with the operators of South Australia's Tesla big battery on a set of agreed facts in relation to the company's alleged breaches of national electricity rules, a court has been told.

The regulator has taken Hornsdale Power Reserve (HPR) to the Federal Court seeking pecuniary penalties, declarations and costs.

It alleges that between July and November 2019, HPR made offers to the Australian Energy Market Operator and was paid to provide market ancillary services which it could not provide, including after any power disruption.

The services are known as contingency frequency control ancillary services and are required to help keep the lights on following a power system disturbance.

AEMO first brought the alleged conduct to the regulator's attention following a power system disruption at Kogan Creek Power Station in Queensland in October 2019.

The regulator argues that HPR's failures undermined AEMO's ability to maintain the grid within operating standards, creating a risk to power system security and stability.

In court on Wednesday, James Arnott for the regulator said the parties had gone a long way to finalising a set of agreed facts.

"As we sit here today, we think that with a little bit more time we will reach agreement regarding all, or almost all, of the underlying facts that relate to the conduct and issues," Mr Arnott said.

"It may be, obviously though, that flowing out of that discussion, agreement is not reached about everything.

"In particular, it seems likely that there is one particular contravention that we plea that may not be agreed to by the respondent."

The case will return to court in December for another case management hearing when the remaining issues in dispute and the likely length of any hearing will be considered.

When the action was launched in September, chair Clare Savage said the regulator was sounding the alarm on concerning behaviour in the frequency control market, making the behaviour of generators a top compliance and enforcement priority.

"It is vital that generators do what they say they can do if we're going to keep the lights on through the market's transition to variable renewable generation," Ms Savage said.

"AEMO relies on accurate information and compliance with offers and dispatch instructions to ensure it can effectively stabilise frequency deviations.

"We expect providers to be in a position, and remain in a position, to respond when called upon by AEMO."

The Hornsdale Power Reserve, near Jamestown in SA's mid-north, was regarded to be the world's first big battery.

The first 100 megawatts was completed in November 2017 with the facility expanded to 150 megawatts last year.

It draws its power from Neoen's adjoining Hornsdale wind farm.

The company said it had provided essential grid-support services and had saved South Australian electricity consumers more than $150 million.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting