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 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. 

Why EFCC?

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:

    Belectric

    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.

    Centrica

    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).

    Flexitricity

    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

    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

    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.

    University of Manchester and the University of Strathclyde

    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

    We are exhibiting at the Power Responsive event - 26 June

    The EFCC project will be exhibiting at the Power Responsive event in London on 26 June. 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. 

    Project presenting at the ENA Electricity Forum - 28 June 2018

    The EFCC project will be presenting at the Energy Networks Association (ENA) second Electricity Innovation Forum. This is a joint dissemination event where Great Britain's distribution and transmission networks will share insights from their innovation work. As well as presentations, there will also be an opportunity to ask questions and network with innovation representatives from the electricity networks. 

    The EFCC project will be sharing the most up to date updates from both the commercial and technical work streams from the project. 

    We've been awarded a highly commended accolade at the British Renewable Energy Awards!

    The EFCC project has been 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 with 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.

    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.

    Related documents