In the end, it seems that the solar eclipse was more a problem with internet service providers than it was for the operator’s of Germany’s grid. As thousands of people jumped on to sites monitoring what impact the 38GW of solar capacity would do to the grid during the partial eclipse, some web-sites crashed. The grid, on the other hand, saw no disruption.
The web-site IEEE even compared the impact to Monty Python’s radio coverage of the 1972 eclipse. Nothing happened. Europe’s interconnected power grid delivered “rock-solid stability” throughout the 2.5-hour eclipse, and according to Enrico Maria Carlini, head of Electric System Engineering for National Dispatching at Rome-based transmission system operator Terna, the grid was more stable than normal.
As IEEE noted:
“Carlini had joked last week about doing a rain dance to dampen solar output during before and after the eclipse. Today he took satisfaction from the fact that the frequency of Europe’s power barely budged from its 50 hertz standard.
If transmission system operators had been struggling to keep power capacity and demand in balance during the eclipse, the frequency would have diverged strongly from 50 hertz. But according to Carlini, it strayed only ±25 millihertz all morning, which he says is about the half of normal variability in Europe’s grid frequency.
The grid rolled over the solar swings partly because they were smaller than the worst case scenarios for which operators had been preparing for many months. In all, Europe lost and regained about 17 gigawatts of solar power generation in the morning.”
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