INESC TEC researcher awarded by the Portuguese Renewable Energy Association

In November, Francisco Sousa Fernandes received the award for “Best Master’s Thesis”, thanks to his work on the stability of the frequency of the electrical system in the Iberian Peninsula, with the integration of power from renewable energy sources. The award was granted by the Portuguese Renewable Energy Association (APREN).

The research “Assessment of frequency stability behavior regarding inertia reduction due to high renewable integration in the Iberian system”, was carried out within the scope of the Master in Electrical and Computers Engineering at FEUP, under the guidance of João Peças Lopes, and co-supervised by Carlos Moreira and Bernardo Silva.

The researcher’s work focused on the study of frequency stability phenomena in the Iberian system, namely the consequences associated with the progressive introduction of power generation technologies resorting to renewable sources. “With the increasing introduction of wind and solar PV electricity into the grid, the synchronous inertia of the system tends to decrease, since these technologies, when connected to the grid via an electronic converter, do not contribute to the system’s inertia”, explained Francisco Sousa Fernandes. “The higher the inertia, the less the frequency changes in the event of an unexpected occurrence on the grid. If the system presents low synchronous inertia, it will vary the frequency more quickly, which can lead to a set of unwanted consequences, e.g., the stopping of other generating units, load shedding and, in worst cases, blackouts”, added the researcher.

Considering the growth of renewable production, it is important “to assess the impact on the Iberian grid, interconnected with the European grid”, mentioned Francisco Sousa Fernandes. Regarding the main conclusions of the study, he stated that “in scenarios of high renewable energy penetration – particularly that connected to the grid via an electronic converter (wind and solar PV) -, the frequency stability of the Iberian system may be compromised”. Another conclusion is the possibility of mitigating some of the effects of the greater integration of energy from renewable sources with new system services, i.e., fast frequency response, synthetic inertia, or even synchronous inertia markets.

The supervisor and INESC TEC researcher João Peças Lopes said that “the model developed during this thesis has already been extended and is being used in contracts celebrated with the industrial sector; it will also be used in future research projects”, thus advancing the research already developed.

The award ceremony took place during the conference “Portugal Renewable Energy Summit 2021” at Culturgest, in Lisbon.


The INESC TEC researcher mentioned in this news piece is associated with UP-FEUP.

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