Power system operators set out priority research needs

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Six research topics comprised of 59 questions have been identified as needs in the short term for power system operators globally.

The inaugural research agenda from the Global Power System Transformation (G-PST) Consortium is compiled to represent the collective needs of leading edge system operators as they transition to increasingly variable renewables based and decentralised power systems.

The focus is on bulk power system issues that are considered to need to be addressed within the next ten years to enable the development and deployment of innovations at the scale and pace that are required, the agenda states.

The six research programmes are Inverter Design; Stability Tools and Methods; the Control Room of the Future; Planning; Restoration and Black Start; and Services.

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The growth of wind and solar with the prospect of 100% penetration of inverter-based resources requires the development of new capabilities, services, design methodologies and standards.

At the same time new tools and methods, as well as modifications or supplements to existing tools and methods are required to ensure reliability, security and stability in power systems.

New technologies and approaches for enhanced real-time visibility and analysis also are required in power system operator control rooms, as are new planning metrics, methods and tools to capture the characteristics and influence of a changing resource mix.

Inverter-based resources cannot currently provide black start. Thus new procedures for black starting and restoring a power system with high or 100% inverter based resource penetrations are needed.

The technical service requirements of future power systems to maintain the supply-demand balance reliably and at least cost also need to be quantified.

The system operators note that some topics in the research agenda are already under way and that it is intended to improve visibility on these while also stimulating researchers and others.

Over time the intention is to expand the scope of the research, with the involvement of other parties including DSOs.

The G-PST Consortium was formed by the CEOs of five system operators to provide support in the energy transition. Areas of work in addition to research support include technical assistance, workforce development, technology adoption support and open data and tools.

The five founding system operators that contributed to the research agenda are the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), California Independent System Operator (CAISO), EirGrid from Ireland, Energinet from Denmark and Britain’s National Grid Electricity System Operator (National Grid ESO).