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Electricity supply problems solved with wind-powered energy


The University of the Basque Country, IBERDROLA (an electricity utility supplying the Basque Country), the enterprises INGETEAM and INDAR and innovative energies company EHN have participated jointly in this research project. The project has put forward an innovative use of wind-sourced energy to control fluctuations on the grid. The research site where measurements were made was the Salajones wind park in Sanguesa (Navarre).

In recent years the electricity utilities have shown much greater interest in achieving uniform distribution of the grid supply system, given that the number of independent sources of power connecting to the grid are increasing all the time: wind parks, solar panels, and so on. Given all these new sources, the power supply level or power profile of the grid constantly rises and falls and, thus, gives rise to grid fluctuations and instability. As a result, the means whereby energy is consumed at source as well as how to confront problems of instability arising from changes in grid load or in its topology are both being investigated. If the solutions to these problems are found, it will be that much easier to stabilise the levels of the electric grid.

This stability provides an improvement in power profile and so in grid safety and security and reduces losses in costs of energy transfer. Moreover, the fact that equipment connected to the grid is using more and more energy has to be taken into account, giving rise to the need to implement complex algorithmic controls. Moreover, in recent decades, research involving regulations for power supply has targeted on-line strategies.

Ever-increasing independence of energy supply

To date, the independent-sourced energy suppliers to the grid have not overtly worried the utility companies which generate and distribute electricity. This has been because the power generated by these sources has been very small compared to the total power on the grid. Today, on the other hand, the situation is totally different. Independently-generated energy has had a great influence on the electricity supply system, particularly when we take into account wind-generated electric power and the promising future for this energy source.

Thus, energy injected into the grid without stability of power distribution is increasing all the time and control thereof is evermore important for the electric utilities. Thus, it would seem logical that these energy generators should also be involved in this control of grid parameters, given that these are, amongst other factors, responsible for the problems created. This does not mean they should carry out this control task free of charge, but that this service should be one more parameter be charged to the utility companies.

Wind-powered generators may be the solution to this problem. The number of installations today, the power generated and the growth estimates suggest this capability. Moreover, the growth of wind parks with double-fed power generators has given credence to this thinking.

Taking up this idea, researchers first analysed the feasibility of energy control as offered by the Salajones park. And, as a second phase, they are planning to develop the optimum control mechanisms required to maintain electricity grid parameters within acceptable limits.


Information source
Gerardo Tapia

Garazi Andonegi | Basque research
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