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Renewable energy generation also causes grid frequency fluctuations

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Frequency measurements from 2015 (data: 50Hertz): the power grid frequency fluctuates around 50 Hz in the European grid and exhibits large jumps particularly in the trading intervals of 15 minutes. Usually, the grid frequency is within the yellow area but upward and downward deviations (grey) are particularly likely every 15 minutes.
Credit: MPI für Dynamik und Selbstorganisation / Benjamin Schäfer

Source: Forschungszentrum Jülich
In summary, the use of renewables like the sun and wind can cause fluctuations in power grids. But what impact do these fluctuations have on security of supply? To answer this question, scientists analyzed different types of fluctuations in several power grids in Europe, Japan, and the USA — and came to surprising conclusions.

“Our power grid works at a frequency of 50 hertz — usually generated by turbines, for example in hydro- or coal power plants, which rotate at a speed of 50 revolutions per second. “When a consumer uses more electrical energy from the power grid, the grid frequency drops slightly before an increased energy feed-in re-establishes the original frequency,” explains Benjamin Schaefer from the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization (MPIDS) in Goettingen and lead author of the study. “Deviations from the nominal value of 50 hertz must be kept to a minimum, as otherwise sensitive electrical devices could be damaged.”Continue reading here.

 

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