Over the past 15 years, we have seen accelerated growth in renewable energy – and a steady decline in the frequency response and system inertia of global utility grids. As more thermal generators are decommissioned, and more renewables connect to the grid, reliability and resistance are getting worse. Without new solutions to address the significant decline in grid reliability, this problem will only accelerate.
Alberta gives context to the size of the problem. The province has seen its frequency response capability decline by 35% over the last 10 years – and further accelerated decline by up to 10% a year is expected as Alberta incorporates more renewables into their grid. This is resulting in knock-on effects such as a de-rating of the BC-Alberta intertie that is meant to ensure adequate access to a means of frequency response. De-rating has directly contributed to the price of power in Alberta doubling – and nearly tripling – over the last 2-3 years. This same decline is seen around the world in electrical grids transitioning to renewables.