Future Power Systems - www.eleceffic.com

Published: Fri 15 May 2015
A blog entry by Stephen Browning

Contributed by:

Stephen Browning
Power Operations Specialist
Electricity Efficiency

Stephen Browning's Blog

"The Future is out there somewhere; we just have to make sure we get the best one"

"There are an infinite number of ways of running an Electricity Supply system badly"

Electricity is unique in that the product flows from Alternator to Appliance at the speed of light, with no storage in the transport system.   Each Electricity system is always in perfect balance; Generation Power output has to be closely matched to Demand Power take continuously, while maintaining transmission and distribution security and stability.  Any serious deviation will cause all or part of the system to go unstable and shut down.   No other business operates in this 'always only just in time' delivery mode. 

In fact, as all the plant is locked together by electromagnetism each AC Electricity system is one of the biggest machines on the planet!!  At the GB Peak we are pushing 85 million BHP through a fairly delicate set of wires!!


The way in which electricity is to be supplied is subject to radical change. Distributed and Renewable Generation, together with Demand Management, is being promoted to reduce the use of central fossil fired plant, increase efficiency in delivery of energy and reduce emissions.

However, this will only be achieved if all resources (Big+Little) are properly monitored and co-ordinated within a new framework for electricity supply management. Any electricity supply system is always in instantaneous Power balance; the wires hold no storage and electricity moves at the speed of light from Alternator to Appliance across the system.  We need to recognise the need for continuous tight matching of generation power to demand power and the associated requirement for accurate prediction.  Both power and time are crucial factors. 

I spent many years with the CEGB then National Grid, working in the fields of generation, system operation and the development of models for Generation Economics - Commitment, Scheduling, Dispatch and Ancillary services with the associated representation of Demand, Fuel, Market, Interconnection flows and Transmission security constraints.

My Future Power Systems documents cover the basics of Electricity Operation through to the  'Brave New World'   - see www.eleceffic.com  for the overview and links to the papers.