The Enhanced Frequency Control Capability (EFCC) Project
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 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
The EFCC Project Industry Event, 27 - 28 March 2018
In March, we will be hosting our final knowledge sharing event at Cheltenham Racecourse. Join us to find out the most up to date information including updates from our partners, results from the trials, and more on the commercial framework. If you would like to attend, please get in touch and one of the team will be in touch. We look forward to seeing you there.
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.
Low Carbon Networks and Innovation (LCNI) Conference 2017
The EFCC project showcased at the Low Carbon Networks and Innovation Conference on 6 and 7 December 2017. Missed it? You can download the presentation in the 'Related Documents' on our website. Contact the project team if you'd like to find out more.
New Monitoring and Control System (MCS) imagery
We have developed a suite of images to help explain the MCS system. If you would like to receive these or understand more, please contact the team. We'd be happy to speak more about the system and share more about the EFCC project with you.