Remember the concept of inertia from physics class? An object in motion wants to stay in motion; an object at rest wants to stay at rest.
US utilities don’t often discuss the subject of inertia but in the UK, other parts of Europe and Asia it is a widespread concept for grid stability and resiliency. And with the penetration of renewables increasing in the US, the concept of inertia and the implications on power intermittency points to the need for US utilities to pay attention.
Spinning turbines from fossil fuel power plants produce a large amount of inertia that keeps the electricity frequency and system stable. As turbines rotate at the same frequency as the grid, they create inertia and spinning reserves. Because spinning reserves are already in motion, it’s easier to adjust and manage frequency changes to maintain power stability. Renewable generation is starting to replace conventional power stations, which is great for the environment, but unfortunately puts the grid at risk. Renewables are unable to provide the necessary system inertia to keep the frequency of the grid stable.
System operators are engaged in a constant frequency balancing act and must make decisions on asset investments such as battery storage to avoid disruption in power delivery. One of the keys to understanding inertia’s impact on the grid is real-time, accurate data to measure weaknesses in the grid from a frequency and voltage perspective. TRC is working with Reactive Technologies (Reactive) to supply utilities with this data.
Reactive is a technology company with the mission of helping grid operators and renewable asset owners to accelerate and thrive in the clean energy transition. Reactive’s GridMetrix® platform combines hardware and software to deliver high-resolution, grid stability measurement data of up to 48,000 times a second. TRC brings deep utility industry and engineering knowledge, program management, consulting and integration services to allow U.S. utilities to implement Reactive’s innovative data and analytics solution.
Together, TRC and Reactive:
- Combine TRC’s industry-leading power engineering expertise with Reactive’s machine learning software to provide utility teams with high-resolution frequency monitoring and automatic event analysis
- Deliver the only platform globally that measures inertia in real time
- Employ TRC’s consulting and integration capabilities to connect GridMetrix to utility IT/OT systems
- Use inertia forecasting to feed integrated development plans for the next 10 years with the most accurate predictions possible based on real measured data
- Help utilities right-size their asset investment programs to potentially save millions of dollars, while still operating within conservative margins
The true value to a utility of accurate inertia data is knowing where to place investment into renewables so precisely as to deliver lasting benefits to grid stability. Imagine being able to picture your grid in such detail that you get measured values, parameters and issues on primary, secondary and tertiary frequency control. It can be a reality with real-time data, TRC and Reactive Technologies.
For more information on how TRC and our partner network can help with your next project, contact Sachin Gupta at SGupta@TRCcompanies.com.