Load Control for Frequency Response - A Literature Review

Benjamin Anderson, Jim Reilly, Venkat Krishnan

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


As electricity grids employ greater fractions of renewable energy, which introduce additional variability and uncertainty in the net-load, balancing electrical load and generation becomes more challenging. This paper reviews the literature documenting physical simulations and real systems that employ load control (LC) for frequency response and other grid services, which balance net load on the grid and prevent unwanted frequency excursions. Apart from academic and simulation studies, few sources exist on large-scale laboratory hardware testing or actual real-world systems that employ LC for frequency response, and we review them here. Four types of systems that we consider are: 1) Laboratory-based LC experiments, 2) Isolated microgrids that employ LC, 3) Larger grids that employ LC and 4) vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology, using electric vehicles (EVs). In general, these systems have successfully used LC to meet their objectives, which are often keeping grid frequency within a required band. However, LC struggled to balance grid frequency in an isolated system powered by a single wind turbine, and V2G technology requires refinement in communication and control to provide optimal regulation that adheres to industry standards. As LC grows in the energy industry, we have three main recommendations: 1) encouraging system operators who use LC to publish system characteristics and lessons learned; 2) transitioning more LC theoretical/simulated systems to physical experiments, and physical experiments to real-world pilot systems; 3) demonstrating load control to support isolated, high-wind-contribution systems.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages23
StatePublished - 2022

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5000-77780


  • active load control
  • frequency response
  • microgrids


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