Measurements Stability Wind Farms

Instability mitigation methods in converter-based power systems

As the number of power-electronic-based power generation units (PGUs) and the power system infrastructure complexity are rapidly increasing, there is a need for carefully investing the system stability to assure robust and reliable operation. However, no commonly agreed methods are available for the analysis of potential sub-synchronous and harmonic (or super-synchronous) stability problems.

Hence, there is a need to provide a general overview of the topic, highlighting the root-cause of sub-synchronous and harmonic stability issues of grid-connected power electronic devices supported by state-of-the-art literature survey as well as industrial experience.

Instability in modern power systems

Several instability incidents related to control system in PGUs have been seen until know. Some of them are briefly summarized below.

1. Oscillations in PV systems with harmonic resonances [1]

Measurements of unstable PV PPs are documented in [1]. The paper takes a model-based approach to predict instability within the harmonic frequency range and improve robustness in a PV PP. The measurements showing instability are obtained from a commercially operating PV PP and are presented in Figure 1.

Figure 1 Measurement of unstable behavior of a PV PP with oscillations the point of connection at 549 Hz as shown in [1].

Furthermore, the studies clearly show that increase of power-electronic-based PGUs in electrical grids characterized by weak conditions increase the need for power converter controllers able to adapt to wide range of grid conditions. The need to change from classical current-controlled VSCs to a more adaptive approach is acknowledged.

2. Oscillations in wind PP with HVDC and harmonic resonances [2]

The paper [2] shows measurements and analysis of one instability incident that happened in German North Sea at an offshore wind PP, connected to onshore by a VSC HVDC system. After a switching operation of a cable an oscillatory behavior could be seen on the voltage waveform as shown in Figure 2. The instability was caused by a control interaction, most likely due to the WTs being sensitive to a grid resonance.

Figure 2 Measured voltage during the instability from [2].

The time domain and impedance-based analysis showed that the WT controllers in use had stability problems with a very poorly damped resonance at the frequency around the 9th harmonic. Due to the switching operation the resonance frequency drops from 600 Hz to around 450 Hz which caused the instability.

3. Oscillations in systems with Type 3 WTs and series compensation [3]

The paper [3] describes a sub-synchronous resonance observed in a wind PP in North China. The measured oscillations were around 6-8 Hz (see Figure 3) and driven by interaction between double-fed induction generators and series-compensated transmission lines.

Figure 3 Phase current at the 220-kV side reflecting sub-synchronous oscillations as reported in [3].

The system vulnerable to sub-synchronous oscillations was investigated using time-domain simulations and supported by eigenvalue-based analysis to understand the impact of grid parameters on the instability.

4. Oscillations in Type 4 WTs in weak grids [4]

The publication [4] presents the need to perform eigenvalue-based stability analysis to investigate sub-synchronous oscillations in an offshore wind PP. It is reported that the instability happened during PP contingency operation due to one export HVAC cable outage. Excessive power oscillations were measured as presented in Figure 4.

Figure 4 Measured reactive power oscillations due to sub-synchronous instability reported in [4].

The paper shows that the effective short-circuit ratio (SCR) at the MV terminal of the WT transformer dropped due to the contingency to 1.2-1.5. Such extreme weak grid conditions triggered WT controller instability.

Instability mitigation methods

Following the investigations and discussions of previous sections on instabilities and their root-causes, this section outlines recommended practices for risk mitigation. The following methods have been identified [5]:

  1. Converter parametrization
  2. Power grid operational measures
  3. Passive filter placement
  4. Active damper
  5. Converter setpoint adjustment
Figure 5 Instability mitigation methods in modern converter-based power systems.


[1] F. Ackermann et al., “Stability prediction and stability enhancement for large-scale PV Power plants,” in Proc. 7th International Symposium on Power Electronics for Distributed Generation Systems, 2016.
[2] C. Buchhagen et al, “Harmonic Stability – Practical Experience of a TSO,” in Proc. The 15th International Workshop on Large-Scale Integration of Wind Power into Power Systems as well as Transmission Networks for Offshore Wind Farms, 2016.
[3] L. Wang et al., “Investigation of SSR in Practical DFIG-Based Wind Farms Connected to a Series-Compensated Power System,” IEEE Transactions on Power Systems, 2015.
[4] L. Shuai et al, “Eigenvalue-based Stability Analysis of Sub-synchronous Oscillation in an Offshore Wind Power Plant,” in Proc. The 17th International Workshop on Large-Scale Integration of Wind Power into Power Systems as well as Transmission Networks for Offshore Wind Farms, 2018.
[5] Ł. Kocewiak, R. Blasco‐Giménez, C. Buchhagen, J. B. Kwon, Y. Sun, A. Schwanka Trevisan, M. Larsson, X. Wang, “Overview, Status and Outline of Stability Analysis in Converter‐based Power Systems,” in Proc. The 19th International Workshop on Large-Scale Integration of Wind Power into Power Systems as well as Transmission Networks for Offshore Wind Farms, Energynautics GmbH, 11-12 November 2020.

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