Grids Could Balance Themselves, Says Study
Germany’s huge investment in renewables has cut demand for fossil fuels, but it has also brought a new source of instability to the grid. Intermittent renewables, such as wind and solar power, increase the difficulty of monitoring and balancing the grid as the amount of power being produced fluctuates. Today, that balancing is done through centralized controls from grid operators, but researchers are looking at a how a grid might keep itself in trim without such control.
The goal of grid balancing is to keep voltage up and maintain the frequency of the alternating current: 50 hertz in Europe and 60 hertz in the United States. When the supply of energy from a renewable source slumps, in most parts of the world fossil fuel plants typically provide the additional power needed for rebalancing.