by Jeff St. John
August 07, 2020

One of the most complicated challenges of a 100 percent renewable power grid is how to replace the inertial stability provided by the spinning generators that the modern grid is built to serve.

The kinetic energy of these massive rotating machines works like a shock absorber to keep grid frequency from dropping too fast when demand exceeds supply or rising too fast when supply exceeds demand. Without this stabilizing force, power grids could face greater risk of frequency excursions that could force generators offline, or cause cascading outages like the 2003 blackout that affected about 50 million people across the Northeast U.S. and Canada’s Ontario province.