I intend to do a few essays about electric power system stability. I aim to share some concepts about power generation and grids, and in particular how electrical stability is achieved.
Some types of generation provide grid stability, other types undermine it. Grid stability is an essential requirement for a power supply reliability and security. However there is insufficient understanding of what grid stability is and the risk that exists if stability is undermined to the point of collapse. Increasing grid instability will lead to power outages. The stakes are very high.
I will discuss various engineering concepts with readers, and I’ll try to do it in a way that is accessible. I’ll do my best to keep the discussion reasonably simple, sticking mainly to mechanical analogies rather than maths.
Here are some of the topics that I’ll be covering:
- 2. There is no storage in the grid. Correcting an erroneous concept; what the grid is not.
- 3. Energy balance and a definition of stability.
- 4. Generator types; synchronous versus asynchronous machines: What goes on inside the machines?
- 5. Frequency stability and energy balance. A description of the interaction between frequency and grid energy flow.
- 6. Control of the prime mover, governors, how it is done and why it matters:
- 7. A closer view of an under frequency event, showing the effects of inertia, load control and governor action.
I aim to do one of these a week.
And for amusement you might want to post statements by Tom Koutsantonis – SA Minister for Electricity (among other things) in chronological order.
e.g. he didn’t know it was coming.
Yes he did, but he was misled by public servant/ weather bureau/AEMO.
The (mothballed CCGT plant with no fuel available) didn’t start up in 30 minutes but made excuses like “we don’t have any gas”, and “we can’t start up in less than 4 hours” – see their website).
We must have the authority to order plants to start up.
The closure of coal fired capacity won’t effect supply
We need to spend $A500 million to fix the problem
Which is not our fault etc.
Looks very interesting and much needed for the energy supply debate…..I look forward to your posts
Very interested ,this is the type of info we need to forward the debate.
This discussion needs be front and center for the members of FERC (and some of the crazies that say its an imaginary problem; pun intended). I like your articles. You explain the concepts simply that most people should be able to grasp some of the problems, if not at least recognize this is a real issue.
Thanks for the kind comments Russell. Most of what I write is just a simplification of standard engineering ‘text book theory’. (It is indeed a ‘real’ problem, pun intended.) Actually, I think that FERC and system operators do have good access to this information, but it the front and center position is occupied by the wind and solar interests.
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Greetings! Quick question that’s completely off topic. Do you
know how to make your site mobile friendly? My web site looks weird when browsing
from my iphone4. I’m trying to find a template or plugin that might be able to correct this problem.
If you have any recommendations, please share. With thanks!
I’ve done nothing special. Just a standard WordPress theme (2010) with minimal fancies.
Remember, you have to create a problem before you can ask for money to fix it. They get paid less $/MWh for excess capacity. They make more profit if demand exceeds supply. So there is less incentive to have a reliable grid especially when it costs more to have spare capacity, storage & dispatchable. The BESS are paying for themselves with FCAS payments when the wind+solarPV are fluctuating (South Australia). The more storage capacity you add, the higher the cost but less you are paid for it during peaks (and reduces the negative prices they earn when grid has oversupply).
If renewable electricity generation is truly cheaper than fossil/nuclear then RE doesn’t need subsidies.