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Stability enhancement of utility-scale renewable energy farms in weak grids

Australia has a national grid with many weak areas. It is currently undergoing a major transformation where fossil fuels are being replaced by renewable energy resources such as solar and wind. Many of these renewable resources are located in weak areas of the grid and are prone to various stability issues. Additionally, with the current trend in increasing the penetration of asynchronous generation, in future years, strong points in the grid are expected to be considerably weaker.

Project summary

This project will assist both network owners and operators to ensure customers get the maximum value of these renewable farms located in weak parts of the grid. It will also increase the reliability and security of the grid in such areas.

The project comprises of three tasks.

  • Task 1 | Weak grids classification and test-bed development

    This task will explore and propose new measures to classify weak networks and will identify grid scenarios and value-range under which weak-grid-connected wind/solar farms will experience instability issues. Additionally, this task will develop a testbed, based on the North-western Victorian network (in collaboration with and based on the data provided by AEMO and AusNet Services). This testbed will be used in the following tasks to validate their findings.

  • Task 2 | Grid-strengthening solutions

    This task will propose two main grid-strengthening methods, i.e., SynCons and grid-forming inverters, and will explore their optimal allocation and sizing in weak networks. Additionally, alternative control strategies for these grid-strengthening assets with a focus on ultra-weak networks will be devised. Finally, the black-start capability of grid-forming inverters will be explored and outlined.

  • Task 3 | Wind/Solar farms controls and their interactions with other PEC-connected assets

    In this task, two internal controllers (PoC voltage controller and PLL) for grid-following converters with a focus on ultra-weak grids (SCR less than one) will be developed to guarantee robust performance and stability over a range of grid strength scenarios and specifically when the grid is very weak. Additionally, this task will investigate the interaction of various power-electronic converter (PEC)-connected assets in the network, with a focus on the existing grid following inverters, and will identify grid scenarios and value-ranges that lead to oscillatory modes.

Chief Investigators

Project partners

The project control committee consists of representatives from the following organisations: