United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Small system criteria discussed at BLOWING workshiop

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The Northern Ireland power system has a peak demand of around 1500 MW but the utility suggests that no more than 50 MW of wind can be accommodated. Whether or not this criterion is conservative provoked considerable discussion at the first meeting of the BLOWING network in Belfast in late January. BLOWING is the ingenious acronym for "Bringing Large-scale Operation of Wind power Into Networks and Grids."

The availability of data from two Northern Ireland wind studies, plus the utility's involvement, provided the foundation for a discussion based on real life conditions. With the UK target of 10% of electricity from renewables by 2010, the principal concerns are whether wind generators will be required to disconnect from the system at certain times -- and what to do about lost output should they trip as a consequence of disturbances on the net.

A detailed assessment of the fluctuations from Northern Ireland's operational wind farms showed that power variations exceeding 20% of rated power, or 10 MW from the 50 MW now installed, were extremely rare within two successive half hours, whereas the corresponding figure for demand fluctuations was about 100 MW. The system operator argued that as the demand fluctuations were predictable, more spinning reserve would need to be scheduled to cope with more wind -- and that would require more money.

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