In the electric power industry, when a major power plant loses its connection to the grid, instantly, dramatically unbalancing supply and demand of electricity. Blackouts follow if there isn’t an instant response…engineering community assumption that, when that kind of supply-demand imbalance incident happens, there will be automatic response within 5-6 seconds from conventional (gas, coal, hydro) generators to stabilize power supply.
How valid this assumption is matters, because it’s used by practically every utility study and commentary aimed at highlighting limits to using renewable energy to replace fossil-fuel power plants…. how jaws hit the floor as NERC’s investigation into reliability questions found that all three of the gas generator manufacturers (GE, ABB, Siemens) predominant in the U.S. have, for years, been delivering equipment that fails to provide this “essential reliability service”.
As it happens, solar can make those changes, and has, a whole lot more quickly than gas plants. In Hawaii earlier this year, the solar industry successfully changed the control settings on 800,000 solar panel inverters through internet connections to make solar in Hawaii support frequency and voltage in similar emergencies.