Erda

18th August 2021

Erda’s geo-exchange heat pumps participation in frequency response programs

The National Grid in the UK is required to maintain a grid frequency of 50 Hz. If there is a significant change in frequency, there are programs in-place to help return the level to 50 Hz. There are many types of programs that aim to bring grid frequency into balance; here we discuss Static Frequency Response (SFR) and how our geo-exchange system with heat pumps can be used as an asset in grid stability.

At Erda, we have spent several years participating in SFR events. From our involvement in frequency response programs, we have learned about grid balancing programs and how our geo-exchange system reacts during an event. Erda has declared assets through aggregators and continuously analyses data from frequency events.  Since 2009 we have access to data from hundreds of SFR events, and we have learned of those events 69% have happened between the hours of 07:00 and 16:00. This is the time of day where there is a relatively higher level of demand for electricity. The National Grid’s prediction on the demand side is good, but sometimes there are frequency events (power cuts) on the supply side which disrupt the demand side.. this is where our geo-exchange heat pumps come in to play.

When a frequency event occurs, heat pumps and other electrical components in the energy system turn off instantly. They must remain off until the event ends (typically 30 minutes). Erda’s heat pumps can do this by leveraging the thermal characteristics of buildings through set points, without sacrificing the thermal comfort of the occupants.

We also found that potentially installing a relatively small electrical battery could eliminate the risk of drawing power from the grid to add to grid stability without sacrificing thermal comfort. The small battery could also be used in time of use tariff programs to shift loads when electricity is more expensive and dirtier.

Through participating in hundreds of frequency events we have seen the way heat pumps and Erda’s geo-exchange system work when they reduce their power load. Since 2016 we have seen little that would indicate the events have a negative effect on the system or buildings.

Frequency response programs are expected to be phased out in 2022, however the grid will always need some sort of stability mechanism as it seeks to harness ever greater volumes of renewable generation. Heat pumps are necessary because they take advantage of the low carbon electricity and continuously decarbonise heat.

These valuable assets need to be able to quickly adapt to new grid stability programs.  Erda’s smart and innovative technology combined with several years participating in frequency programs makes them proven valuable assets in future programs, and can help clients to enhance their revenue streams. These hundreds of events have been our stability pathfinder and have shown us how we can provide for future programs and are ready to meet the stability needs of electrical grids around the world, and improve our client outcomes.

link : How our new spin on grid stability is a boost for renewable generation | National Grid ESO

Rachel Feeney
Erda Energy Analyst

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