Inertia is key to ensuring that electric power flows consistently to all consumers on an electric grid — regardless of the individual performance of a power plant that feeds it.
The electric grid is supplied electricity by power-generating assets such as natural gas, hydro or nuclear power plants, among others.
The energy source, like the heat derived from burning the fuels that power these plants spin massive turbines that generate electricity. Having those turbines spin constantly is essential to ensuring consistent power flows to our homes and businesses. All of the assets on the U.S. grid must spin at the rate of 60Hz all the time. Natural gas, coal, and nuclear deliver energy reliably to power plants, and grid operators can be confident that they will generate heat and drive the turbines at a consistent rate to keep the power flowing.
Increasing Grid Complexity
However, the grid is becoming more complex. In pursuit of clean energy targets, low carbon emissions and security of energy supply, the energy system is transitioning to renewable resources and a decentralized system. However, our grid wasn't designed to cope with the large-scale addition of bi-directional variable resources. Innovations in renewables such as wind and solar and Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) like bi-directional electric vehicles and onsite battery storage have disrupted the status quo. Renewable energy sources are intermittent, and whilst the transition is critical, they can reduce the inertia on the grid and prove to be a struggle for operators to accommodate in the system.
The modern grid must maintain energy reliability while transitioning to clean energy generation. The solution's core is a mix of next-generation smart metering, customer billing data, normalized weather and load forecasting algorithms, and economic and geospatial data.
DEVELOPING Grid Frequency Support WITH BATTERIES for A Multinational utility
A multinational energy utility approached Full Stack Energy to help develop a suite of software and hardware that allows the customer to provide grid frequency support by dispatching distributed batteries. It incorporates PMU technology that monitors the grid frequency per cycle basis and sends charge/discharge signals to the relevant battery banks if a frequency event is detected.
Distributed Energy Resources
& Virtual Power Plants
These solutions can enable the evolution of a centralised system into a complex distributed one. DERs and Distributed Energy Resource Management Systems (DERMs) allow for the continuous integration of renewables into our power grid without risking the consistency of the grid. The massive amounts of data that software and digital technologies can analyze to predict demand and instantly respond with appropriate supply will create order out of an increasingly erratic grid. The software can create a virtual power plant (VPP) by networking DERs together to interact with the grid like a physical power plant. Hardware and software technologies unlock the full capabilities of DERs and empower demand to meet supply, making our grid more intelligent, flexible and responsive.
The U.S. government is providing significant funding to accelerate the transition to clean, distributed energy resources. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, commits over $65 billion in funding for decarbonizing the power and transmission sectors, increasing supply and enhancing reliability. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 is the country's first-ever climate legislation, which provides $369 billion in extended incentives to transition the U.S. from fossil fuel energy.
Innovative Grid Technologies
Empower a Clean Energy Future
The clean energy DERs of our electricity grid disrupt what was once a simple system. One would think the electric grid's reliability, consistency and standardization always existed. It is worth remembering that during Edison, Tesla & Westinghouse's era, the engineering of grid solutions developed on roll-out. The last DC power plant was only shut down in New York in 2007. Mistakes are made along the way; that's how innovation happens - we are firmly in a similar period of electrical reinvention, and innovative grid technologies will empower us to a clean energy future.
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