Why Large Scale, Renewable Energy Systems Connected to the Grid Will Affect the Way Conventional Power Stations Operate.
Alcan, Nhulunbuy Power Station
It has been found in Germany that renewable energy systems always have priority on the grid. This is because the solar and wind power must be used as it is available. However, there can be large fluctuations in the power delivered into the grid in a relatively short time. This is because of the variable and uncontrolled characteristics of solar and wind
What this means, is that conventional power stations must be able to either take up or release the generated power to match the fluctuations in renewable power delivery.
Advances in boiler, turbine and control technology are allowing large coal fired plants to improve their agility. For example, a new lignite-coal-burning power plant built by the German utility RWE Power is now operational at Cologne. Each of the dual 1,100-megawatt steam turbines can ramp generation up or down by 500 MW in less than 15 minutes. This is explained in the IEEE Spectrum article “Quicker Coal Power”
The same issue will affect micro-grids. The sources of conventional power need to be sufficiently agile to adjust generation according to the fluctuations in renewable energy.