While renewable resources’ benefits include the lowest operational costs and fewest greenhouse gas emissions, they can cause potential challenges when integrated into the grid. When the wind blows or the sun shines to produce greater power than demand requires, overcapacity generation must be evacuated at a loss to avoid overloading existing transmission and distribution assets. The changing mix and natural intermittency of these renewable resources also threatens the grid’s ability to meet supply and demand. Incorporating renewable resources without shutting down the whole grid requires a balance between developing renewable energy and system reliability to avoid power outages and disruptions.

Transmission system operators (TSOs), distribution system operators (DSOs), and supply companies are typically mandated to meet minimum-service standards for grid stability and electricity supply. The push to incorporate renewable energy introduces some new challenges, as the grid must adapt to a greater decentralization of energy generation. GE aeroderivative gas turbines can help meet that need.

What is grid firming?

Grid firming—also known as nameplate capacity firming, capacity firming, or renewable firming—is widely used to keep the grid stable in the face of potential wind, solar, and hydro intermittency. To do that, grid operators must also integrate ancillary resources and services.  

For a grid that starts to see renewable sources displacing conventional ones, indicating a high range of renewables penetration, shutdown of some of the fossil fuel plants on which it previously relied is likely. In this case, grid operators can consider other technologies, such as the GE Vernova aeroderivative gas turbines or batteries, to balance any deficit while fully integrating with renewable sources. In California, for example, where penetration of solar power is extremely high, grid balancing and firming services are becoming increasingly more valuable.

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If gaps arise between a solar energy supply and demand due to clouds or sunset, an ancillary resource like a GE Vernova aeroderivative gas turbine fills those gaps and helps maintain grid stability. 

How aeroderivative gas turbines provide grid stability

High renewable penetration grids generally require ancillary services, including frequency and voltage regulation, to maintain stability. The GE Vernova aeroderivative gas turbine is an energy solution to balance the intermittency of renewable sources and provide reserve capacity, frequency, and voltage regulation for grids that need help maintaining a reliable and stable operation. Integrating GE Vernova aeroderivatives with renewable source generation improves the power grid’s operational performance by enhancing grid reliability, as well as reducing emissions, fuel consumption, and operational costs.

GE Vernova aeroderivative gas turbines’ benefits include:

  The ability to get on the grid quickly and start producing power, in as little as 5 minutes
  High cycling capability, allowing multi-day start/stop cycles without maintenance penalties
  Installation in as few as 11 days
  Flexibility to quickly work within an intermittent grid:
  • Fast ramp rate to get power where it needs to be rapidly
  • High part load efficiency
  • Low minimum load
  • Deeper turndown
  Better frequency regulation due to:
  • Fast ramp rate to address load changes
  • A better transient response than reciprocating engines as multi-shaft machines that can quickly handle drops and rises in loads
  • Higher inertia and power output than reciprocating engines, which improve grid stability and help avoid both brownout and blackout events


Why Gas Power for Integrating Renewables?

How to support global decarbonization targets without losing grid stability? Join our webinar and find out! We will discuss why grid firming is required when there is a high penetration of renewable power and look at global case studies of where thermal hybrids have bridged the gap.

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Aeroderivative gas turbines for grid firming

Discover the grid capacity firming capabilities that make GE’s aeroderivative gas turbines great for balancing the electrical grid.

Keeping power reliable and secure

Get the facts around how aeros can support grid firming

Ready to learn more about why our aeroderivative gas turbine solutions are a great peaking plant solution to support the high level of renewable energy generation on the electrical grid? Download our infographic series.

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