Article: 5 questions with Marie Jordan, Transgrid

Q: What keeps you up at night when you think of Australia’s energy transition?

A: The challenge is not only to connect the renewables and replace the retiring coal-fired generators. What really keeps me up at night is how are we ensure the grid stability; and how are we going to get the equipment, planning and everything done to ensure we have a secure operating envelope?

Q: What exciting developments are inspiring you at the moment?

A: One of the things that I’ve seen across the industry, and actually really deeply embedded in Australia, is the amount of innovation that is coming to the surface. I look at what we received when we issued a system strength EOI, how many interesting creative solutions came to the table. It’s inspiring. Australia does have a lot of innovation.

Q: We hear a lot of concerns about the pace of the transition, what do you see as potential solutions for unlocking some of the current gridlock?

A:  When you consider the massive amount of build that is going on in Australia, this is a scenario that is reflected around the globe. The challenges I’m seeing is in the simple pieces of equipment, such as circuit breakers, transformers and conductor. How do we secure this equipment to help deliver the transition?

Q: What is Transgrid doing to help accelerate the transition to a clean energy future?

A: To address the global competition for equipment, we have grouped our orders for our major projects such as HumeLink and VNI West and ordered the big kit such as transformers and conductor to make sure we have enough to deliver these huge, critical infrastructure projects. Transgrid took the risk, we are in the queue – we have our manufacturing slots for this equipment.

Q: Are there any hidden, or less-discussed issues, that the energy sector needs to consider?

A: Each megawatt hour of a coal-fired power station that runs 24/7 is not the same as a megawatt hour of a renewable generator that is intermittent. So, if the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow and when it’s night-time, what are we doing?

We need three times the amount of renewable generation available to maintain the security of the system. We also have to consider what resources we have available, so it’s really about building a vast portfolio to replace the retiring coal generation.

At the same time, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) is forecasting a growth in demand as the population grows and a growth in the supply of renewable generation as we electrify our economy. This further underscores Transgrid’s critical role as the organisation delivering the infrastructure needed to realise the acceleration of the transition.

You can catch Marie Jordan speaking in the 'Re-engineering the Grid' stream of Australian Energy Week 2024 (13 June).

To access the detailed conference program, download the brochure here.

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