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Regulator 'didn't know' wind farm settings

AAP logoAAP 20/10/2016

The Australian Energy Market Operator did not know about safety settings on some South Australian wind farms that led them to switch off before September's statewide blackout.

The regulator's chief officer Mike Cleary says the regulator "did not know that these settings were there" but that wind farm owners are responsible for them.

"That issue is between the wind farm owners and manufacturers in relation to how they protect their equipment," he told ABC radio on Thursday.

"All equipment operates to a set of tolerances and a set of control mechanisms.

"Those control mechanisms are the responsibility of the owners of the equipment to make sure the equipment isn't damaged."

He said some wind farm owners were already working with the manufacturers of their turbines to better understand their settings and consider changing them.

A report from AEMO, released on Wednesday, found nine of 13 wind farms online at the time of the September 28 blackout switched off when major transmission lines were brought down by severe weather.

It found the inability of the wind farms to ride through those disturbances was the result of safety settings that forced them to disconnect or reduce output.

Mr Cleary said it was still too early to apportion blame for the blackout.

He said so far AEMO had found it "operated the system consistent with our procedures" but the body still had much investigating to do.

"This is a much longer assessment which will take up to six months, where we have to investigate all aspects of how the system operated," he said.

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