Tomorrow morning it'll happen – the moon will pass the sun and cast a shadow across Europe. Solar power production will drop suddenly and rise quickly again. Unlike many other external circumstances affecting the grid, the solar eclipse comes with a long lead time and a very precise ETA. What we can’t predict accurately is the weather tomorrow morning and the depth of the swing. I bet that quite a few network operators would wish for a cloudy Friday morning, as it would significantly smoothen the impact of the eclipse.
I’m actually quite confident that the Distribution and Transmission System Operators (DTSOs) will manage the situation smoothly and can make up for the supply issues the eclipse might cause. Restoring the network when the sunlight returns is more of a concern. It’s rather exciting that in just a few more hours we’ll know a lot more about the flexibility of electricity grids in Europe.
The solar eclipse is a somewhat exaggerated demonstration of the dynamic nature of the renewable energy generation. As solar and wind continue to increase their share of power production, we need to boost resilience throughout the grid and go to the next level of network automation – we need a smarter grid. Active Network Management, meaning real-time information from the network combined with advanced energy management systems and energy storages, is our solution to manage the challenge of renewables integration in the electricity grid. It’s a solution for being prepared for the unexpected.
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