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Posted 3 days ago | 2 minute read

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Frequency…explained

Frequency in the power system is caused by the rotational speed of generators connected to the grid. When generators spin at a constant speed, they produce alternating current (AC) at a consistent frequency. The speed of these generators is influenced by the balance between electricity supply and demand. If demand exceeds supply, generators slow down, causing a frequency drop. While if supply exceeds demand, generators speed up, leading to a frequency increase.

Maintaining a stable frequency is crucial for the efficient operation of electrical equipment and the overall stability of the power grid. Deviations from the standard frequency can cause equipment malfunctions, reduce the lifespan of electrical devices, and even lead to widespread power outages.

The two main power frequencies used across the globe are 50Hz or 60Hz (Hertz), and the majority of countries favour a 50Hz frequency (including the UK, Ireland, and Australia) for their mains supply, though there are still a significant number of countries using a 60Hz supply (including the USA). The frequency in Japan isn’t uniform across the country. Areas in the east, like Tokyo, operate on 50Hz, whereas areas in the west like Osaka and Kyoto use a 60Hz power supply.

Frequency response

Goal: Maintain a grid’s normal frequency.

Frequency response is the fastest type of demand response — it is suitable for sites that can act in seconds to respond to failures at large power stations and/or help to manage the normal second-by-second frequency fluctuations. This includes energy storage, diesel rotary UPS (DRUPS) at data centres and industrial load, for example. Dynamic and static services have different response times, ranging from sub-second to 30 seconds.

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