More renewables mean less stable grids, researchers find

More renewables mean less stable grids, researchers find

Grid stability is likely to be increasingly challenged as power distribution moves from a centralized to a more decentralized model, new research has found.

According to a paper published this week in the journal Nature Energy by researchers from Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization and the UK’s Queen Mary University of London, integrating growing numbers of renewable power installations and microgrids onto the grid can result in larger-than-expected fluctuations in grid frequency.

The researchers collected data from grids of various sizes in Germany, France, the UK, Finland, Mallorca, Japan and the US. Based on this data, they developed mathematical models that “can establish the influence of making the grid smaller or of adding a bit more renewable energy” in order to aid in planning, said Professor Christian Beck of Queen Mary University, one of the paper’s co-authors.

The team found that small grids like Mallorca’s displayed larger frequency deviations than larger grids, such as continental Europe’s. And comparing different regions showed that a larger share of renewable generation resulted in larger frequency deviations.

“The grid operators want the frequency to be 50 Hz, but it fluctuates a little bit around this all the time,” said Beck. “We can now establish the probability that the deviation is more than 2 per cent or so, which is a big deviation, and we found that the probability of that is higher than expected from pure random fluctuation.”

Beck told PEi that the research team’s “first surprise was that energy trading had a significant impact on the grids studied” after Germany’s grid and others displayed particularly large fluctuations every 15 minutes, corresponding to spot market trading.

“The grid frequency had big jumps every 15-30 minutes,” he said, “and it wasn’t clear to us before that trading has such a big effect. Most people were worried about renewables because they are unpredictable and certainly produce fluctuations in frequency. Trading gives a similar order of, or stronger, fluctuation, which hadn’t been clear to us or, I think, to most people.”

Comparatively, the research showed that a larger share of renewable generation in a given region resulted in larger deviations from the standard 50 Hz. For example, the UK, with more renewables than the US, also had larger frequency deviations. To integrate more renewables onto the UK grid, the research team recommends increasing primary control and demand response.

“The UK is somewhat special,” Beck said, “in that it has a much higher component of wind power contributing, and it also has an overall smaller grid than the rest of Europe. Still, frequency fluctuations caused by trading seem to be at least as relevant as fluctuations caused by renewables.”

Asked about the effects on microgrids, he said that “the maths allows us to extrapolate the effects depending on the size of the grid. If we extrapolate our results to smaller grids, then indeed we would be implying that the effects are more pronounced there, and if people wish to have a microgrid then they need to relax a little bit the conditions they demand on constant frequency.”

“I don’t think we are saying anything against microgrids,” he added. “You just have to complement them with suitable control strategies to make sure the frequency is constant enough.”


The idea that by some miraculous yet to be invented ‘smart’ grid this problem can be overcome belongs to the domain of futuristic solutions. Obviously the more failure prone advanced electronics you add to the problem, the solution becomes a problem. 

And all this still is based on the current situation without having provisions for the enormous extra load Electric Vehicles will put on that grid.

If ever the general transport currently based on hydrocarbons where to be replaced by electric the current grid and further infrastructure would buckle at the first time the  47 quadrillion Btu in 2012 to 94 quadrillion Btu in 2040 for the transport sector alone would be trying to get that of any electric grid, being it smart or super-intelligent.

No dose effect on mortality by particulate matter PM2.5

No dose effect on mortality by particulate matter PM2.5


Enstrom’s study: Fine Particulate Matter and Total Mortality

As with the fake science ‘supporting’ AGW this latest effort to scare people into paying exorbitant eco taxes for non existent problems begins to unravel fast.

It’s really amazing how time and again ecowarriors try to get away with baseless fake science in order to get their hand in your wallet. 

The tactic is always the same: propose a very scary problem, pump it up with hundreds of taxpayer/donation funded studies whose premise is: Here is the desired outcome now please write us a paper saying it is so.

As with the air quality standards. Air in the Western World became so clean over the last decades it’s having a measurable effect of the amount of sunlight actually striking the ground. Standards for what constitutes ‘clean air’ are now so strict that nature itself can’t adhere to it. Natural causes of air ‘pollution’ (hey we as a species managed to overcome much worse over the last million+ years and we prosper) are worldwide the main driver.

Just as with CO2 not being a pollutant but a highly necessary trace gas for vegetation so is PM2.5 a in greater part a natural phenomenon we live with since time memorial.


Nuclear drive trains for long haul transport

Nuclear drive trains for long haul transport

Despite the obvious fact that CO2 has no discernible influence on climate nor weather.

Despite the fact higher CO2 in the atmosphere leads to a literally greener planet.

Doom sayers profess any CO2 content in the atmosphere higher than 350 ppm will be our downfall. Regardless that farmers using enclosed growing facilities upping the CO2 to 1000 ppm to get the best crop results without killing the workers by some incomprehensible mechanism part of humanity is convinced that more CO2 in the atmosphere is the cause of global warming, global cooling and changes in weather patterns.


Assuming that what are the alternatives? Wind and solar are too independent on natures whims and the day/night cycle to be a reliable source of sustainable energy as United Kingdom/Germany/Australia and many other nations have empirically proven.

So what is a real alternative? Only one. Direct matter->energy conversion. At this point in time the most efficient one, nuclear fusion, is unfortunately not yet within our level of technical prowess.

So the next best thing, Nuclear Fission, is our only realistic alternative to wind/solar. It delivers reliable energy with the least accidents per capita per kw/h per person.

How does this tie in with transport? Well since space-stations need a safe, reliable powerplants the development of those come to being.

Examples which could be adapted to transport are:

The SAFE-400 space fission reactor (Safe Affordable Fission Engine) is a 400 kWt HPS of 100 kWe to power a space vehicle using two Brayton power systems – gas turbines driven directly by the hot gas from the reactor. Heat exchanger outlet temperature is 880°C. The reactor has 127 identical heatpipe modules made of molybdenum, or niobium with 1% zirconium. Each has three fuel pins 1 cm diameter, nesting together into a compact hexagonal core 25 cm across. The fuel pins are 70 cm long (fuelled length 56 cm), the total heatpipe length is 145 cm, extending 75 cm above the core, where they are coupled with the heat exchangers. The core with reflector has a 51 cm diameter. The mass of the core is about 512 kg and each heat exchanger is 72 kg. SAFE has also been tested with an electric ion drive.

A smaller version of this kind of reactor is the HOMER-15 – the Heatpipe-Operated Mars Exploration Reactor. It is a15 kW thermal unit similar to the larger SAFE model, and stands 2.4 metres tall including its heat exchanger and 3 kWe Stirling engine (see above). It operates at only 600°C and is therefore able to use stainless steel for fuel pins and heatpipes, which are 1.6 cm diameter. It has 19 sodium heatpipe modules with 102 fuel pins bonded to them, 4 or 6 per pipe, and holding a total of 72 kg of fuel. The heatpipes are 106 cm long and fuel height 36 cm. The core is hexagonal (18 cm across) with six BeO pins in the corners. The total mass of reactor system is 214 kg, and diameter is 41 cm.


With minimal investment/longevity/efficiency as compared to EV Long Haul vehicles those vehicles equipped with such an derived reactor could not only drive around for 10 years on a single refuel, they could also be powered to haul long haul truck trains as currently being used in Australia.

Even better, when not being used as transport vehicle the onboard reactor could be fitted with a generator and supply electricity to the local grid.

All it needs is an open mind and a reasonable amount of engineering capability