UK-based environmental engineering company Reactive Technology partnered with the national grid operator for the UK, National Grid, to build Project SIM, an innovative project which set out to continuously measure grid stability, also known as system inertia, across an entire electricity network.
Until Project SIM there was no way to take a continuous measurement of an electricity grid’s stability or inertia, leaving utilities forced to make estimates with an unknown margin of error. These estimates are used to trade renewables and fossil fuel energy, set multi-year budgets for energy reserve services, as well as long-term investments in grid infrastructure. The obvious problem with this system is that if the original estimate is off or misleading, all the downstream work will be impacted. Project SIM is therefore able to provide a much greater degree of certainty regarding a grid’s stability, which its creators hope will reduce costs for operators and for end-users, while also helping reduce carbon emissions.
Of course, grid stability has been a big topic of late, especially when you take into account the misinformation perpetrated by those advocating against renewable energy technologies, and raising unfounded concerns that renewable energy is putting grid stability at risk. While variable energy sources like renewable technologies including solar and wind do present challenges for grid operators — such as grid security, as well as the just how to integrate variable energy sources — the technologies exist to make this happen.
Project SIM makes use of Reactive Technologies’ GridMetrix solution, providing real-time visibility of grid inertia, allowing grid operators a better understanding of the necessary steps needed to take for their grid. Grid operators will be able to react to any grid destabilisation much faster than before, and with better information. The information provided by these new solutions will also provide grid operators with better information to inform their reinforcement decisions, guide their procurement actions, and more.
“Grid operators around the world are under pressure to bring new technologies into the control room that allow them to meet their obligations on energy costs, security of supply and decarbonisation,” said Marc Borrett, CEO at Reactive Technologies. “With GridMetrix, we’re giving grid operators access to unique direct data measurements from a national level right down to a granular post code level, so they can operate more leanly and better manage the nation’s supply and demand in line with accurate, real-time information.”
“National Grid is proud to be at the forefront of the energy revolution as we enable the uptake of renewable generation, and deliver value for our customers and consumers,” added Duncan Burt, Acting Director of System Operations at National Grid. “Being part of this innovative project to continuously measure inertia will improve our understanding of how to monitor grid stability in a changing energy environment.”