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GE study finds wind could stabilise US grid

UNITED STATES: A report from GE Energy Consulting has found that modern wind turbines could "substantially enhance" the resilience of the US Eastern Interconnection grid.

The study was based on the US Eastern Interconnection grid
The study was based on the US Eastern Interconnection grid

The study, which was sponsored by the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), aimed to find ways for electrical systems to respond to large-scale interruptions in generation, such as multiple power plants going offline.

Researchers found that, due to their ability to respond more quickly, wind projects could prove more effective than thermal power stations at preventing a drop in frequencies, power interruptions and even large-scale blackouts.

"The conclusions demonstrate that wind power can be more effective in maintaining frequency than thermal generation when wind farms are equipped with grid-friendly controls," said Nicholas Miller, lead author of the study and senior technical director for GE's Energy Consulting business.

"While GE's study considered the impact of wind power on the Eastern Interconnection of the US, the lessons we've learned can be applied in Europe and around the globe," he said.

The research is based on a scenario with a 25% penetration on the Eastern Interconnection. It found that at these levels of capacity, traditional frequency response resources will be scarce.

But modern turbines are often equipped with plant controls that allow frequency regulation through acting as phase-shifting VAR compensators. This means that they will help solve a technical problem with the alternating current voltage grid resulting from industrial customers drawing large amounts of energy, disrupting supply frequency.

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