Integrating generation from renewable energy sources in the Canary Islands

Renewable energy has certain unique characteristics, caused mainly by the geographic dispersion of these power generating facilities, the variability of production determined by changing weather conditions, the uncertainty in its prediction and the technology used in many of the generators. All these variables must be taken into account to ensure the quality of supply and the proper balance between electricity production and consumption.

Royal Decree 413/2014, of June 6, regulates the generation of electricity from renewable energy sources, cogeneration and waste. This royal decree establishes that facilities located in non-peninsular territories (NPT) will be subject to the dispatching and settlement procedure of generation in said territories, as set out in the regulation governing the electricity production activity and the procedure for dispatching power in these systems.

Control Centres

According to the Spanish regulation first established in RD 1454/2005, subsequently in RD 661/2007 and ratified by Royal Decree 413/2014, facilities with a power capacity greater than 1 MW are obliged to be registered and sign up (connect to) with a Generation Control Centre (GCC) previously authorized as an interlocutor with the system operator in non-peninsular territories.  RD 413/2014 establishes that as of June 1, 2015 this power capacity limit is reduced to 0.5 MW. Therefore, Red Eléctrica, through its control centres, monitors and controls production from renewable generation facilities, or groups of facilities, with a power capacity larger than 0.5.

Through the generation control centres (authorized by the system operator as interlocutors with the system operator with sufficient control, command and monitoring capacity to act as aggregators of information), the control centres of Red Eléctrica receive every 12 seconds (maximum allowed), real-time information regarding each facility through real-time telemetry regarding the connection status, the production of both active and reactive power, as well as the voltage at the connection point.

All this information is collected by the control system of Red Eléctrica de España making it accessible to the operator 24 hours a day, every day of the year, thus allowing real-time analysis of the current scenario to be performed, foresee operational measures necessary for the system to remain in a safe state  and issue, if unacceptable situations in the system are detected, orders to non-manageable renewable generation facilities limiting their production and that shall be fulfilled in less than 15 minutes.

In this way, increased integration of renewable energy into the system is being made possible thanks to Red Eléctrica’s control centres, therefore reducing the amount of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere and allowing demand to be covered by using intermittent renewable energies, without jeopardizing the security and quality of supply.

Communication between Red Eléctrica’s Control Centres and the Generation Control Centres (GCC)

The high number of generation facilities present in the Spanish electricity system, requires secure and efficient communication between Red Eléctrica and the generation companies, and requires they register and sign up (connect to) with a Generation Control Centre (GCC). The GCCs receive information from the generation centres who have signed up with them and it is relayed to Red Eléctrica’s control centre and, if necessary, the GCCs relay the orders of Red Eléctrica’s control centre to the generation facilities to ensure that renewable energy can be safely integrated into the electricity system.

The GCCs must not only have sufficient control, command and monitoring capacity over the generation allocated to it, but also have a suitable connection with Red Eléctrica's control centre. Additionally they must also have a workforce with the appropriate training to guarantee secure communication with Red Eléctrica and ensure the operation of the centre 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The requirements and obligations of generation control centres is currently set out in paragraph c) of Article 7 of RD 413/2014 and in operating procedures P.O. SEIE 9 and P.O. SEIE 8.2.

Moreover, currently RD 413/2014 establishes the requirements necessary to obtain authorisation from Red Eléctrica to put in service a generation facility, and for its subsequent registration in the Government Registry of Special Regime Power Generation Stations.

Additionally, operating procedures P.O. SEIE 2.2 and P.O. SEIE 3.1 establish the criteria for scheduling generation in general and P.O. SEIE 3.7 establishes additional criteria for scheduling non-manageable renewable generation.

Red Eléctrica publishes through this section, information on the currently accredited GCCs.

Those generators of electricity from renewable sources, cogeneration or waste or GCCs who would like additional information and are interested in establishing a real-time interlocution with and connection to Red Eléctrica’s control centres, may submit a request for further information on the technical requirements and the process of becoming an authorised GCC to the following e-mail:

Additional documentation