electricity pylons renewables wind energy

Stability of renewables can now be tested with mobile energy grid simulator

Image credit: pa

A mobile simulator of a large-scale electricity grid designed to test the performance and stability of new renewables facilities has been developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy Systems (IWES).

Many countries are moving towards rapid expansion of renewable facilities in a bid to cut carbon emissions, but their inconsistent energy generation can stress the electricity grid they are connected to.

The newly-developed system has been designed to enable testing of the growing number of offshore wind turbines that are pushing current test facilities and procedures to their limits.

The simulator has the flexibility to be used in the field or on test benches to simulate both dynamic and steady-state grid conditions, said the developers at Fraunhofer IWES, a Germany-based research and testing institute.

The test programme will verify that a renewable project connecting to a public power network is fully compliant with stringent local grid codes and will not compromise grid performance and stability.

In addition to its practical testing application, the mobile simulator will play an important role in research and development, particularly for various 'grid-of-the-future' scenarios, its developers said.

“We need to ensure that power grids maintain total stability and performance while integrating ever increasing amounts of intermittent renewables like wind and solar,” said Gesa Quistorf, group manager at Fraunhofer IWES.

“Our new mobile grid simulator will play a vital role in accelerating this programme, as we will be able to provide compliance testing for the ever-increasing number of large offshore turbines that are pushing current test facilities to their limits. In addition, it is prepared for testing low-frequency high-voltage AC railway applications.”

Chris Poynter, division president, ABB System Drives, added: “As part of our drive towards a low-carbon society, increasing the availability of renewable energy equipment for use within the power grid is key. We also need to establish how to operate this equipment as safely, reliably and of course, energy efficiently as possible – this is where the extensive testing capabilities of the mobile grid simulator will add huge value.”

When it commences operation in 2023, the mobile grid simulator will be the largest of its kind in the world.

Earlier this month, an analysis found that the war in Ukraine has caused the price of renewable energy in both Europe and the US to spike by around 30 per cent.

Sign up to the E&T News e-mail to get great stories like this delivered to your inbox every day.

Recent articles