Enhancing system stability: The Enhanced Frequency Control Capability (EFCC) Project

Ahead of the Low Carbon Network Innovation (LCNI) Conference, taking place from the 6th – 7th December in Telford, we will be posting introductions to some of the ground-breaking innovation projects that will be presented there by our members. 

As part of the transition to a new energy future, Lilian Macleod, EFCC’s Project Manager at National Grid explains how the project is providing a solution to the challenge of maintaining frequency stability on the transmission system, allowing greater visibility on the electricity system by using real time data and delivering value to consumers.

The electricity landscape is changing. Electric vehicles and smart grids are becoming reality, and significant volumes of renewable technologies, such as wind farms and solar PV are coming online. The increase of renewable energy technologies presents challenges to maintaining system frequency and stability. Enhanced Frequency Control Capability (EFCC) is a three year project, led by National Grid, designed to find a resolution to this challenge.

Traditional, large rotating power generators provide lots of inertia (the resistance of an object to any change in motion) which acts as a natural aid in maintaining system frequency. Renewable energy technologies introduce challenges to system operability as they do not provide inertia.  Frequency is more volatile when system inertia is low. Reducing system inertia requires faster delivery of response, managed by using greater quantities of response. Ultimately faster services are required to achieve frequency containment with acceptable dynamic performance.                

National Grid, working in partnership with industry and academia experts has developed, and is trialling an innovative wide-area monitoring and control system (MCS).  The system will obtain frequency data at a regional level and calculate and initiate the required rate and volume response of rapid frequency response. 

If successful, the new system will help National Grid explore how established and newer technologies can play a larger role in keeping the transmission system stable in the most cost-effective and efficient way. The project will allow us, the electricity System Operator, to develop new balancing services and response capability across the transmission network. It will help us create a more flexible network, where a new generation of energy sources can compete on a level playing field to provide us with fast frequency response.

In its concluding months, the EFCC project is going to be completing its commercial services field trials and test the MCS on the electricity system. This will allow us to understand how the MCS can be used on the network and define the potential roll-out of the scheme.

We will also be exhibiting at the Low Carbon Networks and Innovation Conference. You can hear more about the project and next steps at the EFCC presentation on the 6 December, 15:40pm. In the exhibition hall, at the National Grid stand, an interactive demonstration will show how low-inertia sources of energy can impact frequency control, and how the MCS can help restore balance following a frequency event. A second demonstration will explain to visitors how the MCS is being tested under a range of scenarios of frequency events and faults.

To find out more about the EFCC project or to contact one of the team, visit our website here.

National Grid will be presenting the EFCC Project at the LCNI conference on Wednesday 6th December.

For more information about LCNI, and to buy tickets, please click here




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