The problem of renewables’ intermittency has long been the Achilles’s heel of wind power. The wind doesn’t always blow, and when it does blow, it can be variable in intensity and duration, or at times when power is not needed.

It’s with great pleasure that we can provide some hope to those invested in the promise of wind power based on a project now underway on the Faroe Islands, all using Microsoft software as its platform. The Faroes are situated between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Oceans and reportedly have average wind speeds of 10 meters/second. 

The project in the Faroes balances the island’s power system by decoupling large industrial units automatically from the main power system to avoid systemic blackouts using a virtual power plant that delivers ‘fast frequency demand response.”  The core of the virtual plant is PowerHub, the balancing technology built on its underlying Microsoft platform.

In more plain English, when the wind dies down, PowerHub kicks in to shut off or reduce industrial users’ demand for electricity. The industrial users have agreed to these reductions (probably in exchange for a reduced rate, but don’t quote us on that). The reduction allows the larger portion of the grid to keep working as usual for all other electricity users. And PowerHub does this within seconds of the non-wind event, preventing blackouts that would otherwise result.

There’s been plenty of news about PowerHub in the Faroes, which you can see here:

Faroe Islands reveals power of ‘world’s first’ smart grid

Faroes in smart grid first

‘Virtual power plant’ for smart grid launched in Faroe Islands

First pilot project for smart grid system in Faroe Islands

World’s First real smart grid solution implemented in the Faroe Islands

Obviously we’re pleased to be a part of this project as it demonstrates the diverse uses possible for Microsoft technologies. Gear up – there’s much more to come. – Jon C. Arnold