Wind Farm Operation and Grid Integration

Increasing wind power development in Alberta will lead to significant challenges to the Alberta electrical grid in terms of frequency control, short circuit level, interactions with surrounding systems such as High Voltage Direct Current systems (HVDCs), which is a relatively isolated grid that is without strong ties to other systems. In addition, from wind farm’s perspective, it is important that the Wind Turbine Generators (WTG) are working properly without early failure (on blades, gearboxes, generator bearings, power converters, etc.). For a large wind farm with hundreds of WTGs, the Operation and Maintenance (O&M) costs account for about 25% of the cost of wind power, while maintenance costs plus revenue loss due to downtime represents roughly 15% of the total cost of energy, and there is great cost reduction potential by enhancing the reliability of wind power generation system.

This project will deal with both the grid operation and wind farm operation issues. Research objective in this project include:

1) Study the grid impact of 30% wind power in Alberta

2) Investigate the interaction of wind farm and the surrounding system with HVDC and STATCOM (Static Synchronous Compensator) and develop coordinated control scheme.

3) Study the WTG interactions within a wind farm particularly under grid disturbance and develop damping approach.

4) Study the failure mechanism of key WTG components.

5) Development of WTG state monitoring and prognostics methods, and optimize wind farm operation and maintenance.