Over recent decades, the penetration of renewable energy sources (RES), especially photovoltaic and wind power plants, has been promoted in most countries. However, as these both alternative sources have power electronics at the grid interface (inverters), they are electrically decoupled from the grid. Subsequently, stability and reliability of power systems are compromised. Inertia in power systems has been traditionally determined by considering all the rotating masses directly connected to the grid. Thus, as the penetration of renewable units increases, the inertia of the power system decreases due to the reduction of directly connected rotating machines. As a consequence, power systems require a new set of strategies to include these renewable sources. In fact, ‘hidden inertia,’ ‘synthetic inertia’ and ‘virtual inertia’ are terms currently used to represent an artificial inertia created by inverter control strategies of such renewable sources. This chapter reviews the inertia concept and proposes a method to estimate the rotational inertia in different parts of the world. In addition, an extensive discussion on wind and photovoltaic power plants and their contribution to inertia and power system stability is presented.
Part of the book: Renewable Energy