Managing Grid Stability in the Changing Hybrid Energy Landscape
Updated: Jan 21, 2022
As the deadlines set out in the Paris Agreement and European Green Deal loom closer, the pace of transformation within the energy sectors intensifies.
Around the globe, power grid operators and power producers face new and increasing challenges to meet the surging demands with reliable power. The problems that the operators face come from a multitude of directions, including market liberalization, the emerging decarbonized, distributed, and digitalized energy landscape.
In many regions, particularly where there is increased demand or rapid growth in renewable generation, the current network infrastructure cannot meet the requirements that decentralized energy systems with unregulated load flows and the liberalized electricity markets are increasingly making.
This stretching of the existing grid infrastructure has two effects, both detrimental to the grid’s performance. The first is that by overloading existing transmission lines, thermal overloads can occur.
Then there is also an increasing number of cases where the frequency and voltage approach or even exceed the allowable limits.
According to the International Energy Agency , world gross electricity production was 3.9 per cent higher in 2018 than the previous year. Year on year, global electricity production has grown continuously since 1974. While energy demand is growing significantly, driven by electrification and sector coupling, the generation landscape shifting with fossil and nuclear power is replaced by renewable energy sources.
The transmission grid was constructed decades ago to manage electricity from conventional and nuclear-fuelled plants located near major load centers. In recent years that has changed with increasing amounts of decentralized renewable generating assets coming online in areas where the grid was never designed to handle high and volatile loads. This results in many lines under increasing pressure to carry heavy loads while other networks are now not fully utilized as they used to be.