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Active Power Control by Wind Power

In this project, NREL researchers evaluated the impact of active power control by wind generation on a large, synchronous interconnection.

Photo of a utility-scale wind farm.

The electrical frequency of an interconnection must be maintained very close to its nominal level. Excessive deviations can result in load shedding, instability, machine damage, and even blackouts. There is rising concern in the power industry about the declining inertia and primary frequency response in many interconnections, and this decline may continue because of increasing penetrations of inverter-coupled generation and the planned retirement of conventional thermal plants. Inverter-coupled variable wind generation is capable of contributing to primary frequency response and inertia; however, wind generation's primary frequency and inertia responses differ from those of conventional generators. How this will affect the system at different wind power penetration levels is not well understood.

To gain insight, NREL researchers conducted simulations of different levels of wind power penetration in the U.S. Western Interconnection. The ability of wind power plants to provide primary frequency response—and a combination of synthetic inertial response and primary frequency response—significantly improved the frequency response performance of the system. The simulation results provide insight into the design and operation of wind generation active power controls to facilitate frequency response performance of an interconnection.

NREL can conduct dynamic simulations of large, interconnected power systems using commercial software tools (such as PSLF and PSS/E) as well as in-house, advanced models such as the Flexible Energy Scheduling Tool for Integrating Variable Generation (FESTIV) and the Multi-Area Frequency Response Integration Tool (MAFRIT).


Investigating the Impacts of Wind Generation Participation in Interconnection Frequency Response, IEEE Transactions on Sustainable Energy (2015)

Wind Generation Participation in Power System Frequency Response: Preprint, NREL Conference Paper (2017)

Investigating Power System Primary and Secondary Reserve Interaction under High Wind Power Penetration, NREL Technical Report (2016)

Frequency Support of PMSG-WTG Based on Improved Inertial Control, Power and Energy Society General Meeting (2016)

Interarea Oscillation Damping Controls for Wind Power Plants, IEEE Transactions on Sustainable Energy (2015)


Vahan Gevorgian

Chief Engineer | 303-384-6940