The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) in partnership with Thomson Bridge have consulted widely with Australia’s Power System Operators (PSOs) to produce a National Training Framework for PSOs.
ESI Control Rooms are being impacted by Industry Transformation
AEMO and Thomson Bridge understand training plays an essential role for the safe, secure and reliable operation of Australia’s electricity networks. This initiative supports that function and responds to evolving industry needs through delivery of a responsive and agile training approach.
Unlike countries such as the United States, PSOs in Australia do not currently work to a national standard of training. However, transmission and distribution control rooms require training to adapt to the transformation that is underway. Similarly, the new wave of renewable generators in Australia requires ready access to training to ensure their operators understand their roles and responsibilities as they connect to the electricity grid and perform in the energy market.
A consultative approach
The methodology used to prepare the PSO National Training Framework report was to engage with industry widely to gather initial background on current and forecast training needs. Interviews were held with representatives of control rooms from every transmission and distribution network across the country, as well as a number of thermal and renewable generators.
The publication of the report constitutes Phase 1 of AEMOs PSO education plan.
National Training Packages only partially meet the industry needs
Broadly, the findings concluded that industry is seeking a modular “pick and choose” option rather than a full curriculum. Modules were identified to meet transmission, distribution and generation needs to cater for PowerGrid practitioners operating at various technical levels. Topics will include electrical fundamentals, human factors, coordination and contingency management, fault diagnosis, risk management for significant weather events and cybersecurity attacks. The Framework is designed to complement existing training options including various nationally recognised training packages.
Phase 2 will provide opportunities for education providers to develop modules and offer these to operators across the PowerGrid, including PSOs in network control rooms as well as generators interfacing with both the networks and AEMO.
Phases 3 and 4 will see the development of the full suite of offerings and embedding of the Framework across the industry.
Read the Training Needs Analysis Report
Power Systems Operations for Renewable Energy Generators
1.1 Australian Networks and Elements of Electrical Power Systems.
1.2 Renewables and Emerging Technologies.
1.3 Communication Technologies.
1.4. Legislation and Regulation Overview.
1.5. Electrical Fundamentals - DC.
1.6. Electrical Fundamentals - AC.
1.7. Electrical Fundamentals – Use drawings, schedules, codes,
1.8. Electrical Fundamentals -
1.9. Electrical Fundamentals - basic electrical
1.10. Electrical Fundamentals - Provide engineering solutions to problems in
complex polyphase power circuits.
1.11. Electrical Fundamentals – Electrical measurements
1.12. Protection Fundamentals
1.13. Switching Fundamentals
1.14. Management and coordination of work parties and field operators
1.15. Voltage Control and Reactive Power
1.16. Reliability Operating Limits and Reliability
1.17. Power Control and the Energy Market
1.18. Emergency Operations
1.19. Resource and Demand Balancing
1.20. Human Factors – Effective Communications
1.21. Human Factors – Fatigue and Fatigue Management
1.22. Human Factors – Human Machine Interface
1.23. Human Factors – Decision making and degradation factors
2.1 System Ride Through
2.2 Power System Disturbance and Contingency Response
2.4 Power System Stability
2.5 Fault Finding and Management
2.6 Monitor and control field staff
2.7 Respond to protection operations
2.8 Develop switching programs
2.9 Operate and monitor system SCADA
3.1 System Ride Through
3.2 Power System Disturbance and Contingency
3.4 Power System Stability
3.5 Fault Finding and Management
3.6 Transmission Operations
3.7 Monitor and control field staff
3.8 Respond to protection operations
3.9 Develop switching programs
3.10 Operate and monitor system SCADA
4.1 System Ride Through
4.2 Power System Disturbance and Contingency Response
4.4 Energy Market Services
4.5 Fault Finding and Management
4.6 Monitor and control operations staff
4.7 Respond to protection operations
4.8 Operate and monitor generation system
5.2 Transmission Planning
5.3 Facilities Design, Connections and
5.4 Power System Simulation
5.5 Power System Restoration
5.6 Cyber Infrastructure and Security
5.7 Respond to complex protection
5.8 Lead and coordinate a control room
5.9 Transmission Congestion
6.1 Power System Simulation
6.2 Power System Restoration
6.3 Cyber Infrastructure and Security
6.4 Respond to complex protection operations
6.5 Lead and coordinate a control room
6.6 Design and interface of Distributed Energy
Resources on the Distribution Network
7.1 Transmission Congestion
7.2 Power System Restoration
7.3 Cyber Infrastructure and Security
7.4 Respond to complex protection operations
7.5 Lead and coordinate a control room
A flexible and targeted approach to PSOs training nationally is required
Both AEMO and Thomson Bridge see a need to educate Australia’s power systems community to enable confident decision making in an increasingly complex environment. Challenges include uncertainty brought about by an evolving power supply mix, unprecedented integration of intermittent renewable generation, increase in severe weather patterns and network outages. There is also the inevitability of impacts of an aging workforce and infrastructure.
This presents both an acute need, and an opportunity, to ensure that the PSOs managing Australia’s PowerGrid have access to first class training to ensure they can operate with confidence to deliver secure, stable and reliable power to the country.
This evolving operating environment also presents unprecedented complexity for the new energy generators who must be skilled in understanding their role and responsibilities within this inter-connected PowerGrid.
Thomson Bridge Managing Director, Lisa Parkinson says, “Working with the market operator and industry is a great example of a modern approach to education.” The need for the Framework has been identified by the National Energy Market Operations Committee (NEMOC) and AEMO who, partnering with Thomson Bridge, have championed the research by engaging with industry on defining the Framework.
This collaboration enables educators to better understand emerging industry needs and develop responsive, agile training approaches and products.
AEMO understands that training plays an essential role for reliable, secure and commercial energy outcomes for the community and for those investing in new infrastructure, such as State sponsored Renewable Energy Zones (REZs). This report is a continuation of AEMO’s work on the development of an appropriate framework to deliver the objectives of adopting standardised training for PSOs.
“The transformation of the industry and the introduction of new technologies means the existing areas of accountability and interoperability within the network are changing”. says Dan Lavis, Manager Operations Training at AEMO. “While some organisations have matured systems and procedures supported by training programs, some organisations do not.”
“Changing demographics of PSO cohorts, the modifications to traditional entry pathways, and the requirements of new network operators are redefining the training needs for PSOs.” says Parkinson.
“It is critical for effective PowerGrid performance to have technical expertise at all levels. To this end, skills development and workforce planning needs to occur now if the industry is to fulfil future labour force needs which are being fuelled by increased demand, workforce mobility and an aging population.”
Thomson Bridge’s new education model for the Energy Industry
Thomson Bridge is delivering on its vision to provide access to the skills and knowledge that Australian workforces will need to build and operate the transforming energy landscape. See here
“We’re actively seeking education partners and industry consultation to develop a streamlined process to deliver that.” says Parkinson.
Thomson Bridge is already engaging with universities and innovative educators to build and deliver leading edge training solutions. Examples of this include Macquarie University’s online diagnostic tool for improving cognitive assessment and decision making in control room and field operating situations; and IncSys Academy’s network simulation software and training options. Combining these innovative tools with targeted training products from Thomson Bridge’s extensive suite of specialised offerings, including face-to-face, remote and online delivery modes, will enable class-leading flexible, agile and effective training for our clients.
This provides solid foundations for our ability to meet evolving needs, creating consistency, portability for workers, confidence for private investment, and security of energy supply.
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