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Virtual inertia-fast frequency response


Technology Description

Conventional power systems include a large numbers of power plants with rotating machines that operate at system frequency (synchronous generators), that provide strong inertia to the system in case of sudden changes in demand, supply or system stability in general.
The increase of share of non-synchronous generators in the form of solar photovoltaics and wind farms results in a decrease of system inertia and more frequency instability.
Virtual inertia can be a solution that addresses these concerns, when utilised with appropriate control structures and technologies such as battery energy storage or an enhanced STATCOM system with supercaps storage. Virtual inertia can also be provided by variable renewables by coupling short term energy storage together with a power inverter/converter and a proper grid forming mechanism. This is known as virtual synchronous generator, virtual synchronous machine or synchronverters.

Relevance for Net Zero

Virtual inertia will need to continually develop. It will be important in regions that achieve a particularly high penetration of wind and solar, and that have less availability of other flexibility resources such as interconnection, or other constraints to transmission, or a poorer match of demand-side flexibility resources.

Key Countries

Australia, Germany

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