Increased deployment of inverter-based wind and solar generators in the Grid – whilst good for the environment – contribute to a reduction in overall grid inertia. Inertia is a key ingredient in maintaining stable frequency and grid security, avoiding blackouts and brownouts. Coal & gas generation contains large amounts of inertia, however these sources of generation are, rightly, shutting down.
To compensate for this, AEMO (the Australian Energy Market Operator) runs a market called ‘FCAS’, where large power users (power ‘loads’) and generators, with the right technology, can be called upon to vary their usage to help balance frequency and grid security. Generally, the faster the response, the healthier the grid.
To date, large industrial batteries — under construction on mainland Australia — provide these fast response services.
Firmus ES, using proprietary software and hardware, is an AEMO accredited fast frequency response provider. ES is in operation, and providing a critical fast response service to the Tasmanian Energy Grid, with a pipeline of up to 200MW of new services.