Enhanced Frequency Control Capability (EFCC)
As renewable technologies come online, such as solar and wind, we face challenges in maintaining the 50 Hz frequency stability on the transmission system which we are required to keep. Enhanced Frequency Control Capability (EFCC) is a three-year project we are leading 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 frequency stability. Renewable energy technologies introduce challenges to system stability as they do not provide inertia, meaning they cannot help maintain system frequency. The increased risk of rapid changes to frequency could lead to faults on the electricity network. As a result, we'll require a greater volume and speed of frequency response to keep the system stable.
What are we doing?
Designing a future of fast frequency response
With industry and academic partners, we are trialling an innovative wide-area monitoring and control system (MCS). The novel system will obtain frequency data at a regional level. Being able to do this at a regional level will provide our control room operators with the accurate, real-time information they need to react much faster to changes to the grid. This will ensure the necessary actions are taken to re-balance the system and allow more informed network decisions, such as determining the most cost-effective mix of frequency response across the transmission network.
The innovative system will obtain accurate frequency data at a regional level, calculate the required rate and volume of very fast response, then enable the initiation of the required response. The system will then be used to demonstrate the viability of getting rapid response from new renewable technologies, such as wind and solar, and the coordination of fast response across all technologies.
As the energy landscape changes, relying on traditional coal and gas plants to ensure frequency stability will become increasingly expensive and have a negative effect on the UK's environmental targets.
Renewable technologies don't provide natural inertia. As the amount of generation from newer technologies increases, there will be a corresponding decrease in the level of system inertia. This is known to increase the risk of rapid changes to frequency, which can affect the whole power system, causing severe faults or loss of load and generation, in worst case scenarios.
The project offers a new approach to dealing with frequency incidents. We'll trial a method of monitoring and instructing response from a range of resources including:
- Solar PV power plants;
- Energy storage;
- Wind power;
- Thermal generation; and
- Demand Side Response (DSR)
The methods being trialled will enable us to develop new balancing services and additional response capability in the grid.
Our project partners
We are running the project in partnership with energy experts and academia. All of our partners have made a significant financial contribution to the project and have provided support in the following ways:
Solar power experts Belectric will provide response from their PV power plants and storage facilities. They'll contribute knowledge and practical solutions to realise the project's goals concerning battery- and PV-based frequency regulation, virtual inertia, and collaboration of different response providers.
Multinational utility business Centrica will play a dual role in the project, providing response from both large-scale generation (Langage and South Humber Bank combined cycle gas turbines) and wind farms (Lincs and Lynn or Inner Dowsing).
Leaders in demand-side management, Flexitricity are recruiting customers from industrial and commercial sectors for a demand side response (DSR) trial. The company will also deploy its proprietary control and communication solutions, providing local interface points for the MCS on customers' sites, and will monitor and operate the DSR trial.
Orsted and Siemens are concentrating on wind turbine trials to demonstrate the capability of a wind farm to provide fast, initiated frequency response and the associated costs of doing so.
GE Grid Solutions have developed the monitoring and control system for the project. The company has a strategic interest in the field of wide area measurement and control.
Both institutions are providing academic support, testing facilities, system studies and expert knowledge. A big focus for both Strathclyde and Manchester will be on the results validation and sharing learning from the project.
News and events
Thank you for joining our hybrid solar and battery, and wind webinar
Our hybrid solar and battery trials and wind analysis have continued over the past few months and results were shared on what response wind and hybrid solar/battery can provide from our project partners; University of Strathclyde and Belectric on a webinar on 5 February. The slides can be downloaded in the documents folder below. Look out for details on our next webinar coming shortly which will discuss the monitoring and control system.
We are exhibiting at the Power Responsive event - 23 October, London
The EFCC project will be exhibiting at the Power Responsive event in London on 23 October. We would love to meet with you if you want to know more about the project or meet with members of the team. For more information, drop us an email at [email protected]
Power Responsive is an initiative all about using energy more intelligently. It provides flexibility that enables National Grid to balance Britain’s electricity system cost-effectively, while our energy landscape changes rapidly.
Commercial webinar 25 September 2018
As the project concludes this year, the webinar provided an overview of the CBA modelling assumptions, the results and next steps for the project.
EFCC is expected to allow the system to accommodate a faster Rate of Change of Frequency, reducing system re-dispatch costs and reduce the overall reserve provision required to manage the system. The CBA highlighted the potential system and consumer benefits of the EFCC project.
The slides from the webinar can be found in the 'other' folder in our documents section.
Learning and dissemination from the University of Manchester
Facilitating knowledge transfer is one of the key principles of Ofgem's Network Innovation Competition. National Grid and it's project partners have learning generated material to be disseminated as effectively as possible to ensure that all Network Licensees, and therefore all customers, are able to benefit from the project.
The University of Manchester (UoM) have created a list of all dissemination activities for the project. It's quite impressive! If you would like to access this list, or any of the results or studies from UoM, please get in touch: [email protected]
Project presented at the ENA Electricity Forum - 28 June 2018
The EFCC project presented at the Energy Networks Association (ENA) second Electricity Innovation Forum. This was a joint dissemination event where Great Britain's distribution and transmission networks will share insights from their innovation work. As well as presentations, there was an opportunity to ask questions and network with innovation representatives from the electricity networks.
The EFCC project shared the most up to date updates from both the commercial and technical work streams from the project.
We've were awarded a highly commended accolade at the British Renewable Energy Awards!
The EFCC project was awarded with a highly commended accolade in the project award category at the 13th British Renewable Energy Awards. The category recognises a company that has developed an outstanding building-integrated, on-site or stand-alone project.
The annual awards recognise and celebrate the achievements of companies and individuals who have done something amazing in renewables and clean technology over the past year.
Academia partners dissemination event - 19 June 2018
Our academia project partners, the University of Manchester and University of Strathclyde hosted an academic dissemination event on 19 June.
Supported by GE Power, the day provided opportunities to discuss insights from the testing and validation of monitoring and control system, core to the EFCC project, in further detail with the team. Real-time examples of testing and simulation of the effects of the EFCC control approach considerations needed for EFCC to be implemented in practice with individual providers were shared.
Thank you for those that attended, we hope you found it interesting and useful. The slides from the presentations can be found in our dissemination events documents folder below.
The IET industry event: Application of a Wide-Area Monitoring and Control Technique for Fast Frequency Response Lecture
Members of the EFCC project team presented at the EFCC project at the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) on 7 February in Glasgow.
Team members from National Grid, GE Power, the University of Strathclyde and the University of Manchester shared the design, operation and tests of the EFCC scheme. They discussed potential market opportunities the future of this project. Missed it? We are holding an industry event on March 27 and 28 where you can hear from all our partners. For information contact us: [email protected] or you can register here.
Management of Energy Networks Workshop, 17 January 2018
On 17 January, project partner GE Grid Solutions led a Management of Energy Networks workshop at the International Centre for Mathematical Sciences (ICMS) in Edinburgh. Bringing together industry specialists, mathematicians, economists and engineers, the objective was to use this expertise to help find an approach to the optimisation challenge identified with the monitoring and control system (MCS). There was lots of useful discussion and we'd like to thank those who took part.
Shortlisted at the Scottish Green Energy Awards!
We were delighted to have been shortlisted in the Best Innovation category at the Scottish Green Energy Awards 2017. The awards recognised and celebrated innovations, people, and organisations that have ensured the success of Scotland's renewable energy sector during challenging times.