Potential of data centers for fast frequency response services in synchronously isolated power systems

Dlzar Al Kez*, Aoife M. Foley, Faraedoon W. Ahmed, Mark O'Malley, S. M. Muyeen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Grid frequency support is one of the most challenging issues in wind rich islanded power systems. This problem becomes critical with the displacement of synchronous generators and their associated services (i.e., inertia and primary operating reserve). The services that are lost can be replaced by other sources, such as demand response schemes to enhance the resiliency and security of power system operations. Demand response based on internet data centers is expected to become an increasingly important asset to make a significant contribution to frequency ancillary services. To exploit this resource, internet service companies are expected to combine the capabilities of a variety of data centers to participate as a single provider similar to a virtual power plant. In this context, this work develops a novel framework for cooperative participation of data centers delay-tolerant workloads and backup power supply units to provide effective fast frequency response service. This is achieved by employing the model predictive controller to initiate reference signals to data center resources while respecting device operating conditions and constraints. Various case studies are run on the modified linear model of the 39 Bus system via dynamic simulations for the projected 75 % system non-synchronous penetration. Simulation results demonstrate the potential of different data center configurations to stabilize grid frequency during signal delays and severe cascade failures. The analysis shows that the proposed framework is critical to the adoption of renewable energy and reduces the requirement for an expensive spinning reserve used in a typical power system.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111547
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Early online date06 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work is part of the Collaborative REsearch of Decentralization, ElectrificatioN, Communications and Economics (CREDENCE) project, which is funded by a US-Ireland Department for the Economy (DfE), Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and a US National Science Foundation (NSF) award under the Research and Development Partnership Program (Centre to Centre) award (grant number USI 110). The views and opinions expressed in this paper do not necessarily reflect those of the DfE, SFI, and NSF.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Demand response
  • Fast frequency response
  • Frequency transients
  • Internet data centers
  • Low inertia power systems
  • Uninterruptable power supply (UPS)
  • Wind power generation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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