National Grid and Reactive Technologies have claimed a first in continuously measuring and monitoring grid stability – or system inertia – across the energy network.
Previously, inertia has always been estimated. The ability to measure accurately is expected to have a considerable impact on the way grid operators around the world manage their systems, because grid operators previously had to use the estimates, which have an unknown error margin in them, for trading renewable and fossil fuel energy, setting multi-year budgets for energy reserve services and long-term investments in grid infrastructure.
Inertia is usually provided by conventional fossil fuel power plants, which store energy in their high-mass rotating equipment, such as steam turbines and gas engines. Increasing the share of renewable energy will lead to decreased inertia levels, making the grid more volatile.
The new system, known as GridMetrix, should allow real-time visibility of inertia systems, so grid operators can respond to grid destabilisation events faster and more cost-effectively.
Project SIM was funded by Ofgem’s Network Innovation Allowance and used Reactive Technologies’ GridMetrix solution. The project built a project in which Reactive used its novel telecoms technology Grid Data Measurement System (GDMS) to successfully transmit data through the entire National Grid network, making it behave as a communications channel to collect and broadcast signals to receiver devices over long distances.