UK Electricity Quality Drops as Renewable Share Rises

Oct. 7, 2013
The quality of British electricity is falling because unreliable renewable generation is becoming an increasingly large component in the power supply, causing more flickering in households and potentially triggering outages.

As the amount of renewable generation increases in the UK, the power quality has decreased, according to a Reuters report. Britain's power grid is balanced around a frequency of 50 Hz, and any major deviation above or below that hits the quality of electric supplies, causing flickering of light bulbs in households and, in the worst case, blackouts.

The European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity said that a subsidy-fueled boom in renewable capacity across Europe has coincided in a quality drop of the power frequency. Utilities say that developing storage technology would help stabilize the grid, however, as it looks like renewable development will continue.

A decade ago, Britain had almost no renewable power capacity installed and instead relied on a mix of gas, coal and nuclear generation. Today it receives around 10 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, although this figure varies according to changing weather, and by 2020 Britain's share of installed renewable capacity is expected to reach 20 percent. National Grid said it did not have historic data showing the number of serious frequency events, but data from Entsoe shows that continental European countries which have seen a strong rise in renewable capacity in the last 10 years have also seen a sharp rise in the duration and number of frequency events...(Reuters)

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