Stuff we've discussed on IRC.
Posted by ats at 2007-08-07 22:22
An interesting (if rather scrappy) Wikipedia article on how the National Grid manages its load.
Mostly written by someone from Wessex Water -- a bit of investigation turns up a presentation with some pretty pictures of the kit.
So apparently it works like this:
- The grid frequency goes up when the load's low and down when it's high -- as you'd expect from a system largely built around conventional generators.
- The electricity suppliers pay big plants to go offline for 20 minutes when the frequency drops past a certain point.
- They also pay companies with big generators to make them available to the Grid at short notice when this happens -- so during the 20 minutes of reduced load, an equal amount of diesel generating capacity gets added.
- The diesel generators run for long enough to get actual power stations online.
It's neat that this actually works -- and I had no idea about it (well, past the first stage) until I ran into this article...
The reason I was looking for this in the first place is that the last episode of Invisible People was about the National Grid. Good series; hope they make more.