50Hz wibbleometer

  • wizzo227's Avatar
    Level 20
    Did we just see 49.75 Hz for about half a minute around about three minutes past 3pm GMT ?
    I thought that was not supposed to happen, and if it did is it indication that nationwide, the collection of power stations were not keeping up with demand ?

    Too bad I'm not getting paid for my tinkering. I could have posponed some household loads.
  • 19 Replies

  • retrotecchie's Avatar
    Level 91
    No we didn't.

    I too have Gridwatch frequency tracking but I have it to a far greater degree of accuracy than you do for the purposes I use it for. Lowest frequency today was 49.841 Hz.

    Even if at the time your household was drawing the full 100A of your service capability, changing your loads would not have made any significant difference to grid demand, or the rotational speeds of the generators.

    It happens several times a day, every day. So long as the variation is within prescribed limits for very short periods of time, or averages out at 50Hz +/- a tolerance across a longer term then you don't need to worry about it. For me, the grid frequency variation is necessary to some of the work I have to do. Without it, my job would be much harder!
    Last edited by retrotecchie; 06-12-22 at 15:51.
    Don't shoot me, I'm only the piano player. I DON'T work for or on behalf of EON.Next, but am willing to try and help if I can. Not on mains gas, mobile network or mains drainage. House heated almost entirely by baby dragons.
  • Han_EONNext's Avatar
    Community Team
    Right, I'll be honest...
    @wizzo227 & @retrotecchie I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about 🤣. It sounds like alien language to me 👽👽.

    What sort of things are you doing where you would monitor the frequency 🤔
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  • retrotecchie's Avatar
    Level 91
    @Han_EONNext

    Let's just say that extreme accuracy of grid frequency recording and being able to accurately recognise patterns and match them to specific dates and times can sometimes play a rather crucial role in determining authenticity of sound or video recordings, for legal and forensic purposes. I'll leave it at that!
  • wizzo227's Avatar
    Level 20
    For a "prompt flexibility" service to switch something interruptible off for an unscheduled period of minutes whenever it sees a shortage in electricty supply, there needs to be some sort of signal which tells it to do so.
    National grid frequency is a uk-wide indication of scarcity. It used to be The way to see that all the heavy steam turbines were running a bit slow due to high and rising electricity demand. National Grid Frequency was historicly one of the signals indicating time to fire up a diesel backup generator or open a big steam valve at a huge power station. Instead, that same signal could bump the thermostat down a degree a swimming pools and household immersion heaters nationwide, to get out of electricity supply shortfall without using fossil fuels to do so. When there next is surplus of generation (preferably renewables), everything speeds up to normal 50.00Hz, and when it goes over 50.05 Hz which is quite fast enough, bump all the thermostats back up a degree. In that way interruptible loads would preferentially use electricity during minutes when there is surplus generation, which can be from having an excess of intermittent renewables.

    It takes me 21milliseconds to spot a really terrible F condition with precision of 0.1Hz, 105milliseconds to get better precision, and so national F tells me the most urgent tenth of a second over the past minute in which something ought to be switched on or off. Since reading a website listing regional status would take longer than that, the regional website should publish some numbers which I collect from time to time, and F should trigger when a switching event happens.

    I've not been too focussed on only-F triggered switching because it is a national state indicator, and I'd expect that a regional server with a number and forecast of regional surplus or scarcity ought to be more useful to balance nearby distribution than a national-only number like F.

    Now for Han and the luvvies who don't do star-trekkie-speak and don't need to follow what I wrote above, I here simplify to what I think could have been feasible at the technology level of 1982 and still has not been implemented. In Hull, there should be cheaper electricity while the wind blows on the turbines, and for Oxfordshire there should be cheaper electricity while there is sun on the solar panels.

    Back to Scottie in the Engine Room, events such as sun on solar panels at scale boost national F, which is a useful indicator of the best second in which to switch interruptible loads, with the regional servers recommending a scarcity number from which my smart house calculates a different threshold F appropriate to the forecasts and scarcity in the house and in the local region.
  • wizzo227's Avatar
    Level 20
    So Han, what I'm doing is a demo of a zerotechnology-smart-house function, to decide from a few things visible to my contraption containing a £5 microcomputer, when does it look like a good time to switch a heater or a comparable interruptible load.
    Last edited by wizzo227; 07-04-23 at 15:38. Reason: looks typo
  • Mailman's Avatar
    Level 54
    Right, I'll be honest...
    @wizzo227 & @retrotecchie I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about 🤣. It sounds like alien language to me 👽👽.

    I'll stick to my gardening - and would suggest you do the same😁
  • wizzo227's Avatar
    Level 20
    I'm serious. There is opportunity for prompt flexibility services to decrease the waste of fossil fuels used to provide backup. We want more renewables and it can be done.
  • meldrewreborn's Avatar
    Level 90
    @Han_EONNext

    In simple terms they're talking about the frequency of the alternating current -its normally 50 Hz, but its virtually impossible to maintain that exactly so it varies a tiny bit. If if varied a lot then you might think your record player or compact disk was running a bit too fast/slow compared to your expectation. Most of us have no need to know or to concern ourselves about this, but some find it fascinating. I'd rather read my book, Dictator by Robert Harris, which deals with ancient Rome about the time Caesar declared himself dictator and then got himself killed for his trouble...
    Current Eon Next and EDF customer, ex Zog and Symbio. Don't think dual fuel saves money and don't like smart meters. Chronologically Gifted. If I offend let me know by private message, but I’ll continue to express my opinions nonetheless.