decarbonise
Mpumalanga power station. Image: Pixabay

CEOs of power system operators and organisations have banded together to introduce the Global Power System Transformation Consortium, a public private partnership to accelerate transitions to net-zero-emission to decarbonise power systems and drive broader economic growth.

They were joined by the US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm and the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Secretary of State Kwasi Karteng at a virtual launch event.

The launch event signals a major commitment from power system operators and other key institutions to implementing the technologies and approaches that will permanently change their emissions trajectories while improving grid reliability, resilience and security.

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US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, commented: “While each country will take a different path to 100% clean energy, we’ll all face similar obstacles along the way—which means there’s great value in collaboration. The Global Power System Transformation Consortium gives leading power system operators a broad range of support—from world-class research institutes to government agencies and private companies—in solving these common challenges, clearing the way for us to collectively cut emissions by 50% over 2020 levels in the next 10 years. At the same time, American grid operators will be able to use these solutions to speed our transition at home and unlock millions of new jobs in the US.”

Working together to decarbonise power systems

UK Secretary of State Kwasi Karteng, also commented: “Tackling climate change requires international cooperation, and if we want to successfully achieve cost-efficient, green energy networks that work for everyone, we need to work together.

“As a world leader in both technological innovation and the renewable energy market, I am delighted that the UK is co-hosting the launch of this new consortium, uniting the very best of business, research, and academia to bring world-class renewable energy to the grid—key for economic growth, job creation, the climate and building back greener.”

The G-PST Consortium is led by CEOs of five of the world’s leading system operators: Australia Energy Market Operator (AEMO), National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) UK, California Independent System Operator (CAISO), Ireland’s system operator (EirGrid) and Denmark’s system operator (Energinet).

The core technical team includes the Energy Systems Integration Group, Imperial College London – Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Fraunhofer Cluster of Excellence for Integrated Energy Systems, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Latin American Energy Organisation, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Electric Power Research Institute, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, the Technical University of Denmark and ASEAN Centre for Energy.

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Overcoming technical challenges to grid-tied renewables

Ahead of the launch event, the G-PST Consortium published the inaugural global research agenda, which identifies research areas that must be addressed to bring the highest levels of clean and renewable energy to the grid in an effort to decarbonise systems.

Fintan Slye, executive director of Britain’s electricity system operator, National Grid ESO, said: “This is a real opportunity to lead the world in decarbonising power systems, at a time when the transition to clean energy has never been more important. Our consortium has an ambitious research agenda and we’re seeing that work in action as we continue to overcome technical challenges to harness more and more renewable power on our respective electricity systems.”

Martin Keller, director of NREL, noted on behalf of the G-PST Consortium’s core team organisations: “This research agenda focuses on bulk power system issues that must be addressed in the next decade—including inverter design, stability tools and methods, control rooms of the future, planning, restoration and black start, and technical services for supply-demand balance. It proposes 59 research questions that are meant to stimulate innovative industry research and public-private sector collaboration to ensure a future global energy system that is safe, cost effective, and resilient.”

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The work has already started

Public-private research collaboration is a central tenet of the G-PST Consortium and allows for efficient sharing of innovation with developing countries and other global stakeholders.

Elliot Mainzer, CEO and president of CAIS, stated: “The G-PST Consortium is an exciting new forum for public-private collaboration that will help realise the full potential for reliable, low-cost power systems based on clean energy technologies and efficiently share cutting-edge research and operational practices with developing countries and utilities throughout the world.”

Prominent system operators from Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe are key partners in the G-PST Consortium, and early collaboration between the G-PST Consortium and Indonesia’s system operator, Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN), will inform upgrades to PLN’s Java-Bali control room to allow for increased renewable energy integration that will help decarbonise their system.

PLN CEO Zulkifli Zaini, commented: “The G-PST Consortium provides an important opportunity to improve power system operations engineers’ technical competency throughout Indonesia by learning from world-leading electricity companies’ knowledge and experience.”

Enlit Africa is the new unifying brand for African Utility Week and POWERGEN Africa. The G-PST Consortium will present on the work they are doing in Africa at the Enlit Africa digital event between 8 and 10 June.