Synthetic Inertia could be Solution to Grid Frequency Worries: November 1 Webinar

Oct. 10, 2023
The innovation in distributed energy control and management systems makes synthetic inertia possible. To that end, microgrid control technology firm PXiSE Energy Solutions is leading a one-hour free webinar happening 2 p.m. Eastern Time Wednesday, Nov. 1.

The electricity grid, while it provides energy for everyday life in nearly all facets, is hardly like other resources such as transportation fuels like gasoline or diesel.

Electrons can be stored in batteries at relatively small capacity and short durations, but it’s not like they can be kept in an underground tank at the local service station. Electrons must keep moving until they are consumed and grounded, and if the grid traffic falls below a certain frequency, it can be in danger of a complete outage with expensive and sometimes life-threatening consequences.

This almost happened to the Texas grid in February 2021 during Winter Storm Uri. A loss of GW in capacity threatened a near shutdown that forced operator Electric Reliability Council of Texas to shed load—which mitigated the threat of a grid collapse of power—but thousands of Texans lost their service during freezing temperatures. More than 50 people died as a result of hypothermia, according to reports. 

Sometimes the opposite threat emerges and threatens the grid in the same way. Extreme heat, which prompts peak electricity demand from customers, can achieve the same effect. All extremes in load coupled with drops in capacity might slow the spin required on the grid.

This steady spin is called traditional inertia and it is pivotal to maintaining frequency. This threat against inertia has always compelled power plant operators to maintain “spinning reserves” to keep frequency at acceptable, operational levels.

However, utilities can have a new option called synthetic inertia as a capability to maintain grid frequency. Synthetic or virtual inertia can utilize the fast-growing number of distributed energy resources interconnecting in the grid such as microgrids, solar, wind and battery storage.

The innovation in distributed energy control and management systems makes synthetic inertia possible. But it’s a lot to wrap one’s head around. 

To that end, microgrid control technology firm PXiSE Energy Solutions is leading a one-hour free webinar happening 2 p.m. (ET) on Wednesday, November 1. The event is hosted jointly by Microgrid Knowledge and T&D World.

The session will answer many questions utilities, end users and microgrid operators might have about how electricity management can guide synthetic inertia in replacing the traditional spinning reserves.

Fausto Perez, head of project delivery and support at PXiSE Energy Solutions, will lead the webinar. Perez has nearly a quarter of century's  experience in energy industry projects, having worked at General Electric, AES, Sempra Energy and Recurrent Energy prior to joining PXiSE.

The momentum of the energy revolution toward a more decentralized and renewable energy grid and series of microgrids is already on pace. Utilizing new opportunities and technologies such as synthetic inertia can help smooth the path as utilities, commercial, industrial and residential customers remake the way the grid moves.

Join us for the 2 p.m. ET Wednesday, Nov. 1 webinar with PXiSE Energy Solutions, Microgrid Knowledge and T&D World. The webinar will be live and on demand for several months later.

You can register here.

About the Author

Rod Walton, Managing Editor | Managing Editor

For Microgrid Knowledge editorial inquiries, please contact Managing Editor Rod Walton at [email protected].

I’ve spent the last 15 years covering the energy industry as a newspaper and trade journalist. I was an energy writer and business editor at the Tulsa World before moving to business-to-business media at PennWell Publishing, which later became Clarion Events, where I covered the electric power industry. I joined Endeavor Business Media in November 2021 to help launch EnergyTech, one of the company’s newest media brands. I joined Microgrid Knowledge in July 2023. 

I earned my Bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma. My career stops include the Moore American, Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise, Wagoner Tribune and Tulsa World, all in Oklahoma . I have been married to Laura for the past 33-plus years and we have four children and one adorable granddaughter. We want the energy transition to make their lives better in the future. 

Microgrid Knowledge and EnergyTech are focused on the mission critical and large-scale energy users and their sustainability and resiliency goals. These include the commercial and industrial sectors, as well as the military, universities, data centers and microgrids. The C&I sectors together account for close to 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.

Many large-scale energy users such as Fortune 500 companies, and mission-critical users such as military bases, universities, healthcare facilities, public safety and data centers, shifting their energy priorities to reach net-zero carbon goals within the coming decades. These include plans for renewable energy power purchase agreements, but also on-site resiliency projects such as microgrids, combined heat and power, rooftop solar, energy storage, digitalization and building efficiency upgrades.

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