United States

United States

US grid 'should introduce' active power management for wind

UNITED STATES: The US should implement a system that allows wind power to assist the proper functioning of electricity grids by controlling the active power output being placed into the system, a new report has claimed.

Active power management is not widely used in the US
Active power management is not widely used in the US

The study from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the University of Colorado shows that the standard approach of adjusting conventional power output to allow the maximum input from wind, is not the optimal method.

This practice is often adopted because of the desire to make the most use of wind's lack of fuel costs.

Instead, the "Active Power Controls from Wind Power: Bridging the Gaps" report suggests that wind power can support the power system by adjusting its power output at optimal times to enhance system reliability.

Additionally, the study finds that it could often be economically beneficial to provide active power control, and the potential for damaging loads on turbines from providing this control is negligible.

Active power control helps balance load with generation at various times, avoiding erroneous power flows, involuntary load shedding, machine damage and the risk of potential blackouts.

"Utilities and independent system operators are all seeking strategies to better integrate wind and other variable generation into their electric systems," said NREL analyst Erik Ela. "Few have considered using wind power to support power system reliability."

Although many of the control strategies have been proven technically feasible and are used in many regions of the world, only a limited number of wind turbines in the US are currently providing active power control.

The study included a number of different power system simulations, control simulations and field tests using turbines at NREL's National Wind Technology Center.

As a result of these tests, the researchers developed proposals for new ancillary services designs in the US wholesale electricity markets.

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