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Network Operator Requirements

As noted in previous sections, the technical requirements of network operators are becoming more onerous.  The principal areas are:

  • The ability to stay connected and perhaps also contribute to system stability during disturbances on the electricity system (including ‘fault ride-through’);
  • The ability to control reactive power generation/consumption in order to contribute towards control of voltage; and
  • A general aim for the wind farm (not necessarily each wind turbine) to respond similarly to conventional thermal generation, where possible.

These issues are considered in more detail in Part II: Grid Integration.  However, the net effect is to increase the arguments for variable-speed operation, and in particular for concepts using a fully-rated electronic converter between the generator and the network.  Concepts with mechanical or hydraulic variable-speed operation and a synchronous generator, connected directly to the network, are also suitable.

It should be noted that some of the required functions require fast response and communications from the wind farm SCADA (Supervisory control and data acquisition) system.

It is also feasible to meet the requirements for reactive power control and for fault ride-through by using fixed-speed or DFIG wind turbines, and additional power electronic converters (commonly called Statcoms or Static Var Compensators).  This can be done by a single converter at the wind farm point of connection to the grid, or by smaller units added to each turbine.  

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