Low Voltage Ride-Thru Technology (LVRT) | Wind Turbine Technology

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In renewable power generation the wind energy has been noted as the most rapidly growing technology; it attracts interest as one of the most cost-effective ways to generate electricity from renewable sources.

Because of some challenges such as conventional energy sources consumption,  pollution,  global climate change and security of energy supply, significant efforts have been made to develop renewable energy sources such as wind energy. Wind power growth with a 20% annual rate has experienced the fastest growth among  all  renewable energy sources since five years ago. It is predicted that by 2020 up to 12% of the world’s electricity will have been supplied by wind power.

In terms of wind power generation technology as  a result of numerous technical benefits (higher energy yield, reducing power fluctuations and improving var  supply) the modern MW-size wind turbines always use variable speed operation which is achieved by electrical
converters .These converters are typically associated with individual generators and they contribute significantly to the costs of  wind turbines. The variable speed  wind  turbine generators such as doubly fed induction generators (DFIGs) and  permanent magnet synchronous  generators (PMSGs) with primary converters are emerging as the  preferred technologies. 

As a result of large-scale wind power generation, interconnecting large wind farms to power grids and the relevant influences  on the  host grids  need to be carefully investigated. Wind farms are now required to comply with stringent connection  requirements including reactive power support, transient  recovery, system stability and voltage/frequency regulation. Further to increase the maximum power extraction the  variable speed  generators are employed. These variable speed generators necessitate a AC-DC-AC conversion systems. The  generator side converter controls the electromagnetic torque and therefore the extracted power while the grid side converter controls both the DC link  voltage and the power factor.  Moreover  when designing the control strategy it seems that the generator-side converter must control the extracted  power as it is located closer to the incoming power. Hence the grid-side converter would control the DC voltage.

Fulfilling the  new  grid codes constitutes one of the main challenges for the  wind power industry. There are ride through requirements. Enhancing the operation of wind turbines in front of the grid faults is  mandatory requirement. The wind turbines must stay  connected to the grid during grid disturbances. They should continuously feed the reactive power in  addition to  limited active power. In modern wind turbines the increasing integration of power electronics enables to control the  behavior  of wind generation system under faulty scenarios.

The  function  of an electrical generator is providing a means or energy conversion between the  mechanical torque from the wind rotor turbine as the prime mover and the local load or the electric grid. Different types  of generators are being used with wind turbines. Small wind turbines are equipped with DC generators  of up to a  few kilowatts in capacity. Modern wind turbine systems use three  phase  AC generators.

The common types of  AC generator that are possible candidates in modern wind turbine systems are as follows:

  • Squirrel-Cage (SC) rotor Induction Generator (IG);
  • Wound-Rotor (WR) Induction Generator;
  • Doubly-Fed Induction Generator (DFIG);
  • Synchronous Generator (With external field excitation); and
  • Permanent Magnet (PM) Synchronous Generator

WindVAR Technology | Wind Volt-Amp-Reactive | Various Wind Power Generator Technologies

Today through Wind Volt-Amp-Reactive (“WindVAR”) electronics, voltage is controlled and regulated in real-time. Similar to conventional utility generator, WindVAR supplies reactive power to the grid at the time its needed. in a fraction of a second , regulating system voltage and stabilizing weak grids. With the ability to supply reactive power to the grid Wind VAR opens the door to new opportunities in areas where weak rural distribution systems had discouraged new wind power applications. The addition of a wind project equipped with WindVAR electronics can actually strengthen a weak grid. This system also has the potential to provide emergency back-up support and support to weak grids in need of transmission and distribution capital improvements. The turbine’s power electronics also reduces the in rush current to about 75% of full load current during the wind turbine’s start-up, and provides ride-through capability.

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How It Works

WindVAR system is provided through the same power electronics employed in achieving variable speed operation. The variable speed technology which reduces torque transients and increase the blades ability to capture more of the kinetic energy available in the wind.

A voltage controller placed at the Point of Interconnect measures utility line voltage, compares it to the desired level, and computes the amount of reactive power needed to bring the line voltage back to the specified range. To reach the desired voltage level at the substation, the VAR Controller communicates the reactive power requirement to each of the projects wind turbines via a distributed control network. Individually each wind turbines power processor excites the generator to produce the commanded power factor. As the power factor changes, the measured line voltage moves toward the desired voltage level, forming a closed  loop voltage control system.

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