Tools to help ensure grid reliability with new generation resources identified


Jon Wellinghoff,
Chairman, FERC
Washington, DC, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — January 21, 2010 – A systematic approach to identifying metrics which are useful for operating and planning a reliable power system with increased amounts of variable renewable generation has been set out in a new report from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

The study, which was conducted for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and is now open for comment, is based on the concept of the “frequency nadir,” which is the frequency at which frequency decline is arrested following sudden loss of generation, and takes advantage of new information gathering and processing capabilities that system operators are developing for wide-area situational awareness.

The aim is to ensure reliability for consumers by identifying tools that will help manage the planning and operations of increasing renewable generation resources into the nation’s electricity system.

Primary frequency response is the leading metric that is used in the report to assess the adequacy of primary frequency control reserves necessary to ensure reliable operation. It measures what is needed to arrest frequency decline (i.e. to establish a frequency nadir) at a frequency higher than the highest set point for under-frequency load shedding within an interconnection.

The metrics can be used not just to manage the integration of variable renewable generation but also to guide and gauge the extent and success of reliable integration of any new resource into an interconnection. Further, they can be used to map a transition path when major changes are made to existing resources such as conventional plant retirements or de-ratings.

As an example the study simulates the integration of wind generation, and finds that the wind generation capacity projected for 2012 in the Western and Texas interconnections – 9 GW and 14.4 GW respectively – can be reliably integrated.

“This study is valuable in that it gives us the tools to help determine how to manage operation and expansion of the grid, regardless of which resources the electric industry uses to generate power,” commented FERC chairman Jon Wellinghoff.

Comments on the study’s technical aspects can be made over the next 45 days.