Mathematicians from the University of Nottingham have discovered that renewable energy sources can potentially cause blackouts. The study was published in the journal “Science Advances”.
Mathematicians used data from smart meters to track changes in grid composition over time and found that resilience varies over the course of a day and that heavy use of solar panels can make the grid more likely to break down. National renewable energy production is growing rapidly with just over a million small-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in the UK. These small-scale renewable generators are low-efficiency and intermittent and often distributed and integrated into power grids in large numbers.
Domestic production is a key element of the integration of renewable energies and includes the “feed-in tariff” which remunerates the producer for the supply of his electricity stored upstream of the network. This electricity supply was unpredictable, with generators turning on and off intermittently and households taking on the role of consumers or producers as daily and seasonal usage and weather conditions varied. These fluctuations can put the network at risk of system failure.
Oliver Smith, a researcher at the University of Nottingham who led the study, explained: “The growing proliferation of small, intermittent renewable energy sources is causing a rapid change in the structure and composition of the electricity grid. This is because the efficient grid structure can change over the course of a day as consumers and small generators connect and disconnect. Using data from smart meters in UK households, we tracked how grid composition varies over time. We then used a dynamic model to assess how these changes impact the resilience of power grids to catastrophic outages. We found that resilience varies over the course of a day and that high solar panel consumption can make the grid more susceptible to failure. The first part of the research investigated the theory of changing the proportion and size of generators by modeling a system using many small-scale generators and in any case showed that the network should be more robust than using a single power source. However, when the actual smart meter data was integrated, the researchers found that the reality of a grid with many small-scale generators running at different times means that the grid does not reach the optimal levels for this resilience is achieved, leaving it susceptible to failures.
The researchers found that the renewable energy stored in household batteries is only used to minimize household electricity costs and does little to minimize the risk of grid outages. They recommended that the power supply to these batteries be programmed to also optimize the resilience of the power grid.
Oliver continued: “The main problem is the fluctuating supply of small-scale renewable energy. A cost-effective way to overcome this problem would be to intelligently schedule the release of stored photovoltaic energy from home batteries at specific times. provide much greater control and reduce the risk of system failure. » (ANI)
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