The European grid was not designed with intermittent energy sources in mind. What is being done to ensure that the grid becomes sufficiently reactive to accommodate the levels of renewable energy foreseen in the SET-Plan?
The management of electricity networks under stable frequency and voltage conditions implies a continuous exact balance between power generation and load consumption. Any unbalance, if not properly managed, can evolve into unstable conditions, potentially opening the way to blackouts.
Up to a few years ago, the only variable in the electricity system was the load. Hence, generators were operated to follow load variations closely in order to maintain equilibrium with the required safety margin to ensure secure operation of the system. More recently, nearly all European countries experienced abrupt growth in renewable energy sources (RES) such as wind and photovoltaic, which are intrinsically variable and, to a certain extent, difficult to predict. This fact has increased the level of complexity of system management and, to avoid dramatic consequences, there is an urgent need for increased system flexibility.
The only way to cope with this new situation is to implement smart grid solutions.