Simulating the GB power system frequency during underfrequency events 2018–19

Cooke, Christian and Mestel, Benjamin (2023). Simulating the GB power system frequency during underfrequency events 2018–19. Energy Systems (Early Access).



Lightning hit a transmission power line outside London, England on 9 August 2019. There followed a loss of power from a cascade of generator outages that exceeded contingency reserves, leading to an exceptional fall in grid frequency causing widespread transport disruptions and the disconnection of over 1m households. Simulating such events typically involves a system of differential equations representing the overall generation and load present at the time. A standard model based on the swing equation assumes unlimited capacity in aggregated resources, and the availability of these services throughout the duration of the frequency deviation. In simulating the effect of outages on the GB Grid frequency on 2019/8/9, the effect of limiting these services to the capacity of resources engaged during the event is examined. It is shown that by taking these refinements into account the timing and extent of the frequency nadir can be successfully estimated. Insight is gained into the responses of various grid characteristics and how they interact with unplanned generation imbalances. Using this adapted model, further events on the GB grid are examined to validate the influence of these features. With the model’s effectiveness validated, novel mitigating measures to preserve the stability of a low-inertia grid can be evaluated.

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