Droop speed control

Droop speed control

In electricity generation, droop speed control is the primary instantaneous system using net frequency deviations to distribute with stability load changes over generating plants.

For stable operation of the electrical grid of North America, power plants operate with a five percent speed droop.[1][citation needed] This means the full-load speed is 100% and the no-load speed is 105%. This is required for the stable operation of the net without hunting and dropouts of power plants. Normally the changes in speed are minor due to inertia of the total rotating mass of all generators and motors running in the net.[2] Adjustments in power output are made by slowly raising the droop curve by increasing the spring pressure on a centrifugal governor or engine control unit adjustment. Generally this is a basic system requirement for all power plants because the older and newer plants have to be compatible in response to the instantaneous changes in frequency without depending on outside communication. Voltage control of several power sources is not practical because there would not be any independent feedback, resulting in the total load being put on one power plant.[3]

Contiguous United States power transmission grid consists of 300,000 km of lines operated by 500 companies.

It can be mathematically shown that if all machines synchronized to a system have the same droop speed control, they will share load proportionate to the machine ratings.[4]

The thousands of AC generators are running synchronously with the power grid which acts like an infinite sink. Next to the inertia given by the parallel operation of synchronous generators,[5] the frequency speed droop is the primary instantaneous parameter in control of an individual power plant's power output (KW).[6]

 S = \frac {\Delta f_N} {f_N}

S is the ratio of frequency deviation when comparing the load versus the nominal frequency.


  1. ^ http://www.control.com/thread/1026221805
  2. ^ http://www.nationalgrid.com/uk/Electricity/Data/Realtime/Frequency/Freq60.htm
  3. ^ Speed Droop and Power Generation. Application Note 01302. 2. Woodward. Speed
  4. ^ William D. Stevenson, Jr. Elements of Power System Analysis Third Edition,McGraw-Hill, New York (1975) ISBN 0070612854 page 378-379
  5. ^ VSYNC-Project
  6. ^ Whitaker, Jerry C. (2006). AC power systems handbook. Boca Raton, FL: Taylor and Francis. p. 35. ISBN 9780849340345. 

See also

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