March 26, 2021 Read More →

Grid likely to become less stable as renewables pose inertia issues


On the surface, the duck is calm. Below the waterline, it is paddling like mad. And so it is with the National Electricity Market.

The 16 coal-fired power stations that supply about 65% of generation in the NEM spin generators at precise rotational speeds to match the 50Hz frequency in the grid. “If the frequency deviates from that, the generator doesn’t like it,” says Tim Finnigan. “It has to try to stay stuck to that frequency.”

Finnigan, a consultant and engineering physicist, has written a report for the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis that highlights the obvious: as coal disappears from the grid so will inertia, so we need to stop relying on it.

But it’s not that easy, because inertia in the grid that we know is vital – like a heartbeat. 

[Staff Report]

More: Doing nothing is no way to plan for the end of inertia

Posted in: IEEFA In the News

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