The utilisation of wind energy at many locations is limited by the availability of the local distribution system to provide the reactive power needed for induction generators. Many wind turbines provide capacitors in the base of the tower to improve the power factor, but an alternative approach -- already widely used in power systems -- is to utilise static VAR compensators. A Joule project lead by Danish utility Elsam aims to investigate the use of controllable compensators which would avoid any possibility of self excitation with its potential hazards. The concept is broadly analogous to moving the capacitors from the base of each turbine and providing the compensation by a large more sophisticated unit embedded in the power network. This is a more sophisticated approach and if successful in controlling network voltages will ease the assimilation of wind farm outputs in weak distribution networks.
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Senior Renewable Energy Analyst (WindGEMINI Product Lead) DNV GL Bristol (City Centre), City of Bristol