Regulation is one of the ancillary services for which storage is especially well-suited. Regulation involves managing interchange flows with other control areas to match closely the scheduled interchange flows and momentary variations in demand within the control area. The primary reasons for including regulation in the power system are to maintain the grid frequency and to comply with the North American Electric Reliability Council’s (NERC’s) Real Power Balancing Control Performance (BAL001) and Disturbance Control Performance (BAL002) Standards. Regulation is used to reconcile momentary differences caused by fluctuations in generation and loads. Regulation is used for damping of that difference.

Spinning, Non-Spinning, and Supplemental Reserves

Spinning Reserve (Synchronized) – Generation capacity that is online but unloaded and that can respond within 10 minutes to compensate for generation or transmission outages. ‘Frequency- responsive’ spinning reserve responds within 10 seconds to maintain system frequency. Spinning reserves are the first type used when a shortfall occurs.

Non-Spinning Reserve (Non-synchronized) – Generation capacity that may be offline or that comprises a block of curtailable and/or interruptible loads and that can be available within 10 minutes.

Supplemental Reserve – Generation that can pick up load within one hour. Its role is, essentially, a backup for spinning and non-spinning reserves. Backup supply may also be used as backup for commercial energy sales. Unlike spinning reserve capacity, supplemental reserve capacity is not synchronized with grid frequency. Supplemental reserves are used after all
spinning reserves are online. Importantly for storage, generation resources used as reserve capacity must be online and operational (i.e., at part load). Unlike generation, in almost all circumstances, storage used for reserve capacity does not discharge at all; it just has to be ready and available to discharge when needed.

Voltage Support is a requirement for electric grid operators is to maintain voltage within specified limits. In most cases, this requires management of reactance, which is caused by grid-connected equipment that generates, transmits, or uses electricity and often has or exhibits characteristics like those of inductors and capacitors in an electric circuit. To manage reactance at the grid level, system operators need voltage support resources to offset reactive effects so that the transmission system
can be operated in a stable manner.

Normally, designated power plants are used to generate reactive power (VAR) to offset reactance in the grid. These power plants could be displaced by strategically placed energy storage within the grid at central locations or taking the distributed approach and placing multiple VAR-support storage systems near large loads.

Black Start is a mechanism to utilize storage systems to provide active reserves of power and energy within the grid and can be used to energize transmission and distribution lines and provide station power to bring power plants on line after a catastrophic failure of the grid.  Storage can provide similar startup power to larger power plants, if the storage system is suitably sited and there is a clear transmission path to the power plant from the storage system’s location.

Other Related Uses

Load Following/Ramping Support for Renewables

Electricity storage is eminently suitable for damping the variability of wind and PV systems and is being widely used in this application. Technically, the operating requirements for a storage system in this application are the same as those needed for a storage system to respond to a rapidly or randomly fluctuating load profile. Most renewable applications with a need for storage will specify a maximum expected up- and down-ramp rate in MW/minute and the time duration of the ramp. This design guidance for the storage system is applicable for load following and renewable ramp support; this Handbook therefore treats them as the same application.

Load following is characterized by power output that generally changes as frequently as every several minutes. The output changes in response to the changing balance between electric supply and load within a specific region or area. Output variation is a response to changes in system frequency, timeline loading, or the relation of these to each other that occurs as needed to maintain the scheduled system frequency and/or established interchange with other areas within predetermined limits.

Conventional generation-based load following resources’ output increases to follow demand up as system load increases. Conversely, load following resources’ output decreases to follow demand down as system load decreases. Typically, the amount of load following needed in the up direction (load following up) increases each day as load increases during the morning. In the evening, the amount of load following needed in the down direction (load following down) increases as aggregate load on the grid drops.

Frequency response is very similar to regulation, described above, except it reacts to system needs in even shorter time periods of seconds to less than a minute when there is a sudden loss of a generation unit or a transmission line. As shown in Figure 10, 13 various generator response actions are needed to counteract this sudden imbalance between load and generation to maintain the system frequency and stability of the grid.

The first response within the initial seconds is the primary frequency control response of the governor action on the generation units to increase their power output as shown in the lower portion of the figure. This is followed by the longer duration secondary frequency control response by the AGC that spans the half a minute to several minutes shown by the dotted line in the lower portion of Figure 10. It is important to note that the rate at which the frequency decays after the triggering event – loss of generator or
transmission – is directly proportional to the aggregate inertia within the grid at that instant. The rotating mass of large generators and/or the aggregate mass of many smaller generators collectively determines this inertia.

The combined effect of inertia and the governor actions determines the rate of frequency decay and recovery shown in the arresting and rebound periods in the upper portion of Figure 10. This is also the window of time in which the fast-acting response of flywheel and battery storage
systems excels in stabilizing the frequency. The presence of fast-acting storage assures a smoother transition from the upset period to normal operation if the grid frequency is within its normal range. The effectiveness of fast-acting storage in this application has been successfully utilized by utilities14 and also described in other reports and papers.

The size of storage systems to be used in frequency response mode is proportional to the grid or balancing area in which they are needed. Generally, storage systems in the 20 MW and greater size can provide effective frequency response due to their fast action; some studies16 have shown that the response is twice as effective as a conventional fossil-fueled generator, including combustion turbines (CTs) and coal units. However, location of the storage system within the grid with respect to other generation, transmission corridors, and loads plays a crucial role in the effectiveness as a frequency response resource.