Market Designs for the Primary Frequency Response Ancillary Service -- Part I: Motivation and Design

Erik Ela, Vahan Gevorgian, Aidan Tuohy, Brendan Kirby, Michael Milligan, Mark O'Malley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

158 Scopus Citations


The first part of this two-paper series discusses the motivation of implementing a primary frequency response (PFR) market in restructured pool-based power markets, as well as the market design that would create the right incentives to provide the response reliably. PFR is the immediate, autonomous response of generation and demand to system frequency deviations. It is the critical response required to avoid triggering under-and over-frequency relays or instability that could lead to machine damage, load-shedding, and in the extreme case, blackouts. Currently, in many restructured power systems throughout the world, ancillary services markets have been developed to incent technologies to provide the services to support power system reliability. However, few ancillary services markets include a market explicitly incentivizing the provision of PFR. Historically, PFR was an inherent feature available in conventional generating technologies, and in most systems, more was available than needed. Yet, recent trends in declining frequency response, the introduction of emerging technologies, and market behavior may soon require innovative market designs to incent resources to provide this valuable service.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number6544662
Pages (from-to)421-431
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Power Systems
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5500-55357


  • Ancillary services
  • energy markets
  • frequency response
  • power system economics
  • power system operations
  • power system reliability
  • unit commitment
  • variable generation


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