Brief: A Unique Window of Opportunity: Capturing the Reliability Benefits of Grid-Forming Batteries (March 2023)
Report: Grid-Forming Technology in Energy Systems Integration (March 2022)
Brief: Benefits of Grid-Forming Energy Storage Resources: A Unique Window of Opportunity in ERCOT (Sept 2022)
Report: Grid-Forming Technology in Energy Systems Integration
To maintain grid stability and reliability in power systems with rising levels of inverter-based resources (IBRs), some of these resources will need to have new functionality as IBRs increasingly provide services currently (or formerly) provided by synchronous generators. Existing grid-following IBRs provide some services currently, but as IBR levels rise, new advanced inverter controls—termed grid-forming (GFM)—will be needed to maintain system stability.
The chicken and the egg. System operators and planners, equipment owners, and manufacturers face a chicken-and-egg problem regarding the deployment of advanced IBR controls: which comes first, the requirement for a capability or the capability itself? How do grid operators know what performance or capability is possible from new equipment, and therefore what they could conceivably require? How can they evaluate costs and benefits of having such equipment on the grid? What drives manufacturers to invest in new technology without its being mandated for interconnection to the grid or otherwise incentivized by the market?
Failure to break the cycle will hinder our ability to meet energy transition targets and increase the costs of this transition. Conversely, we can take advantage of the low-hanging fruit. Interconnection queues around the world have hundreds of GW of IBRs, including, for example, a significant amount of battery storage. If these batteries are built using today’s grid-following technology, this will increase systems’ needs for additional reliability support down the road. However, with clear requirements and market mechanisms providing incentives, a significant proportion of these battery storage resources could be equipped with GFM functionality, helping us to avoid the costs of installing much larger additional grid-supporting devices or additional grid reinforcements in the future.
Breaking the cycle, starting from a system needs perspective. Grid-Forming Technology in Energy Systems Integration lays out a nine-step approach to breaking the chicken-and-egg cycle, starting from a focus on evolving system needs. The nine steps are to define the target system, define resilience parameters, perform studies to determine the system needs, formulate technical requirements for system services, quantify system services, determine the economically optimal form of service provision, define technical benchmarking, implement services, and monitor performance.
The report moves on to discuss system services and GFM technical requirements needed under high levels of renewables, and describes the efforts of several power systems—in Great Britain, Germany, Europe (through ENTSO-E), Hawaii, and Australia—that have begun exploring how to reform grid services and incentivize their provision by IBRs with advanced controls. It illuminates the ways these can serve as models for other regions.
Tools and models. The analysis concludes with a look at what we know from the testing and characterization of grid-forming resources; the detailed engineering and economic studies required to define and deploy new system services; and the evolution of stability, analytical, and economic tools necessary to ensure stability and interoperability of power systems’ changing portfolios.
Brief for Decisionmakers: Implementing grid-forming (GFM) controls on new battery storage systems has the potential to increase grid reliability at low cost. In the absence of incentives or requirements for GFM controls, batteries currently in interconnection queues will be built with conventional controls, leading to a need for additional stabilizing equipment in some areas with high levels of renewables. However, batteries equipped with GFM controls can provide stability to the system at low or zero additional cost. We have a unique window of opportunity to procure, test, and gain experience with GFM technology now, before the need for wind, solar, and battery storage to contribute to grid stability becomes acute. Areas that take advantage of this opportunity will be able to maintain grid reliability through the less expensive, more efficient means of having GFM batteries and renewables provide stability advantages themselves.
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Brief: Benefits of Grid-Forming Energy Storage Resources: A Unique Window of Opportunity in ERCOT
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