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Assessment of Power Quality Characteristics of

Wind Farms
A. I. Estanqueiro, Member, IEEE, J. O. Tande and J. A. Peças Lopes, , Senior Member, IEEE

Abstract—In this paper the main parameters to assess the power
quality of grid embedded wind farms are presented. International
standards to assess and quantify the power quality of grid
connected wind turbines exist for some years now, and are here
extrapolated to wind farms aggregates when possible being the
correspondent methodologies identified in the document.
Recently, the grid code requirements posed a novel challenge to
this technologic area, particularly since they were issued with
national or local objectives and without particular normalized
global concerns. The form how the international standards are
evolving in order to cope both with the power systems industry
local requirements, but also with the global wind turbine
manufacturers principles is addressed in the paper.
Index Terms— power quality, wind energy, wind turbines,
voltage dip.

I. INTRODUCTION

T

his paper presents the existing normalized and

uniform parameters and methodologies that ensure
consistency and accuracy in the assessment and presentation
of power quality characteristics of grid connected wind
turbines (WTs). These methodologies have been prepared to
be applied by the several parties involved in the wind
industry, namely: the WT manufacturer striving to comply
with well-defined characteristics; the WT purchaser in
specifying the equipment characteristics; the WT operator,
planner or regulator who may be required to verify that stated,
or required power quality characteristics are met and also
determine the impact of a WT on the power system quality of
service; finally it may also be useful to the planner or
regulator of the electric network who needs to determine the
grid connection required for a WT.
The currently existing power quality standard for wind
turbines, issued by the International Electrotechnical
Commission (IEC), IEC61400-21: “Measurement and
assessment of power quality characteristics of grid connected
wind turbines”, Ed 1, 2001 [1] defined the parameters that are
characteristic of the wind turbine behavior in terms of the
Ana I. Estanqueiro is with INETI – National Institute for Engineering,
Technology and Innovation, Estrada do Paco do Lumiar, 22, Lisbon, Portugal.
(Ph: 351210924773; fax: 351217127195; e-mail: ana.estanqueiro@ineti.pt).
J.O Tande is with SINTEF Energy Research, Norway
J. A. Peças Lopes, is with INESC-Porto and Faculdade de Engenharia da
Universidade do Porto, Portugal.

1-4244-1298-6/07/$25.00 ©2007 IEEE.

quality of power, and also provides recommendations to carry
out measurements and assess the power quality characteristics
of grid connected WTs. Although the standard mainly
describes measurement methods for characterizing single
wind turbines, there are methodologies and models developed
that enable, for well pre-defined conditions, to extrapolate the
single turbine unit parameters to the typical quality
characteristics of wind farms.
Recently, several Transmission System Operators (TSOs)
have developed grid codes [2] for wind turbines and/or wind
farms. These generally resemble requirements to wind farms
that are very similar to those of any other power stations. The
new requirements were challenging for the wind turbine
industry, but it responded as requested by the TSOs. The
largest problem seems to be the fact that the grid codes were
issued to respond to national and regional grid characteristics
that, by their intrinsic nature, are typically non-general and
local-dependent thus prevent from a normalized standard
approach [3].
II. WIND POWER QUALITY CHARACTERISTICS
When the IEC 61400-21 standard was developed as
published, the assessment of the WT’s power quality was, in
its essence, the assessment of the turbines voltage quality. The
reason for this was that at the time of developing the standard,
the wind turbines were mainly connected to the distribution
grid, and the basic concern was their possible impact on the
voltage quality and not on power system operation. This has
changed with the development of large wind farms that may
form a significant part of the power system. In consequence,
today’s wind turbines are able to control the power (active and
reactive) delivered both in transient and steady state, they can
cope with power ramp requirements and they have ride through
fault (RTF) capability. They may even contribute to the primary
frequency control, but then on the cost of dissipating energy. To
this, IEC 61400-21 is currently under revision to provide
procedures for assessing these new wind turbine characteristics.
One may state that today’s wind farms are more like
conventional power plants, and in that respect quite different
from the wind turbine installations from the end of the last
century. Such recent technical advances allow for large global
wind power penetration and also attractive for island systems.
Nevertheless, wind farm developers still face some resistance
from the utilities to connect their independent power plants to
the existing grid. The wind, being a spatially dispersed
renewable source of energy, still induces a negative reaction

IEC 61000-3-6 and 3-7 [4]-[5]: 1. which is not true for wind. The most relevant factor related to the grid characteristics. The approach used to evaluate about the feasibility of such connection involves three steps. wind power can even improve the voltage quality and benefit the service in weak rural systems.whose equivalent representation in the IEC power quality standard is the flicker . A. Grid conditions Reduction of voltage quality due to the connection of wind generators may impose limits to the connection of large wind parks in a given part of the electrical network.wind farm internal power collecting system characteristics (X/R) . in the initial phase of a wind park or cluster design. Wind park design and control The wind park topology is mainly conditioned by the wind turbine micrositing in order to avoid some turbines to work under the wake of others.number and nominal power of the wind turbines .interconnection voltage level and regulation . It is commonly accepted that the power fluctuations . and built in reactive compensation capabilities. Evaluation of the tolerable limits for harmonic current injections and flicker for each wind park. C. but depending on the wind turbine technology.spectrum of the wind 3D components . in specific cases. Indeed. for some areas where wind may have a high correlation with the seasonal loads (e. As an example. this is not always possible due to economic reasons and therefore voltage quality issues may impose real limitations to the connection of large wind parks.type of interconnecting transformers (e. 2. being N the number of the turbines in a park. according to IEC Electromagnetic compatibility standards.possibly together with some storage . however.may avoid the reinforcement of the transmission grid and clearly benefice the power system. with influence on voltage quality.added power/voltage control and regulation D) wind flow local characteristics . although that is evident for most power engineers. like installation of active filters or dynamic voltage restorers.g. normally introduced in the grid integration studies through the short circuit power and phase angle in the grid interconnection transformer or substation (Sk and ϕk). its is probably difficult to find a reference to the fact that. Intermittency implies no persistence of the power signal. It is possible thus. for power quality (harmonics and flicker).on the system planners and operators.Factors with impact on the power quality of wind farms (together with the reactive power flow in either sense depending on national/regional legislation and regulations) are “wind power trade-marks” than can contribute to flicker emissions and to affect the mean voltage profile. With the development of the IEC 61400-21 standard during the later nineties and its publication in 2001 [1] as well as the outcomes of some European funded research projects it was possible to identify both the factors and characteristics with highest influence on the power quality of wind turbines and the parameters more adapted to their quantification. is the equivalent line impedance.g. electric cluster. seasonal tourism in windy areas). Another example being that. mainly due to its timedependent non-dispatchable nature. or even region as shown by Lipman et al [6]. to decide among various configurations of a park that have different impacts of the system power quality (e.type of electrical generator . Wind turbine technology The typical behaviour of a wind park based on squirrel cage induction generators (mostly doubly fed in current days). delivers a variable1 power to the grid.gearbox or gearless transmission . also referred in the IEC standards as point of common coupling (PCC). LTC) . a small .possible capacity effects from the wind farm internal cabling system . in terms of voltage. 3.turbine operation under wake flow .direct/controlled connection to the grid B) grid conditions at the point of common coupling .spatial variability of the wind This important step enabled not only to estimate the power quality of a wind turbine (and extrapolate it to a wind park). this can be counteracted on by installation of reactive compensation (possibly as a central unit of the wind farm).turbulence intensity . A) wind turbine technology . the local integration of this power sources . B. The use of doubly-fed induction generators or generators with fully rated frequency converters generally offers smaller fluctuations in the active power output. being persistence methods even used for power production forecasting.. Allocation of the distortion limits to the generation facilities. to act as normalized quality indicators (Table I). Identification of the tolerable planning levels in the receiving network. A drawback of using power electronic converters may be a higher harmonic distortion.earth system (?? I suggest to delete this point) .short circuit power and X/R ratio . Table I .g. Limitations that may arise can be solved through network reinforcements and by using local corrective procedures.produced by several wind turbines tend to cancel by a factor of 1 / N . but also to apply them in the feasibility phase of a wind park and thus optimise its capacity and technical characteristics in order to avoid the degradation of the existing network quality of service.coordination of the protections C) wind farm design and control . This power flow 1 but not intermittent as some authors refer. Network reinforcement can be used to increase the PCC short-circuit power in order to allow for the connection of large wind parks in a given network area. considering the influence of adjacent networks.

Normalised parameters were defined and adapted the wind turbine working mode. the wind power delivered to the grid maintains.] Fig. D. They are very useful.5 3 Time [sec. not al.0 Time [s] Fig. The main parameters identified and currently used nowadays are presented below: A.where two voltage series with very different turbulence intensity are depicted . Imbalances and Harmonics Current Harmonics and Inter-harmonics 80 REN (Portugal) 60 REE (Spain) E-ON (Germ.5 2 2. In the paper the existing methodologies and empirical models to extrapolate the power quality of wind farms from the power quality parameters defined and developed for single grid connected wind turbines will be addressed and presented [7][8]. 3. Particularly addressed will be the possibility for articulation between wind turbine power quality standards and the national or regional grid codes. Steady-state: Flicker emission Long and Short Term emission.one easily concludes on the high influence of the atmospheric conditions (and stability) on the voltage fluctuations of a wind park busbar. being this issue specially important in weak isolated systems (e.0 m/s.5 4 4. As referred previously. 2 – LVRTF requirements for several grid codes.e. FROM WIND TURBINE TO WIND FARM POWER QUALITY 15. Wind Turbine Constructive Parameters Nominal and Reference Power. using Figure 1 . are unlikely to occur in many other places. Reactive power versus active power. Transient State: Wind turbine cut-in and cut-out Voltage “Dips and drops” 15. be taken into account. therefore. B.0 0.5 IV. 1 were monitored. hence on this power plants quality is not negligible and could. Indeed. 1 – PCC voltage for different atmospheric conditions. the wind flow characteristics. Wind flow local characteristics The most typical characteristics of the primary energy source driving wind turbines.0 120.) 40 ESB (Ireland) FERC (US) 20 III. this also depends on the wind turbine technology. but most of the primary energy characteristics: it is highly variable in time. i.5 0 0. usually referred globally as “turbulence”. it impact on a wind farm dynamic behaviour.0 30. however. in what concerns the low voltage ride through fault (LVRTF or RTF) capability represented in Fig. manly its non stationary and non-stochastic characteristic.number of large turbines vs a large number of smaller ones) for the same installed capacity.2 where dashed pattern represents the “non-standard” RTF area requested by the grid codes.5 6 . Wind Power Fluctuations 1. Being evident that its inclusion turns an already complex issue even more complex.6 m/s. and its spatial correlation is very low. the unstable climatic conditions characteristic of the locality where the voltage time series displayed in Fig. it is difficult to predict and control (although not impossible) 0 -1 -0. what turns out to be a very positive issue in what concerns the power system operation.0 60. to illustrate that the wind flow physical characteristics (here the turbulence) may affect the voltage (and power) quality of a wind power plant. WIND TURBINES POWER QUALITY STANDARD PARAMETERS Being a time depended and highly variable source.3 wind speed = 9.5 1 1. 2. islands). the publication of IEC 61400-21 standard enable to define systematic parameters to characterize the quality of power (mainly voltage at that time) of grid connected wind turbines. when necessary. I=24 % 15.g. I=10% wind speed = 9. 120 100 Voltage [%] Voltage [kV] C. and modern wind turbines with reactive control capabilities may control the voltage quite effectively even under sever climatic conditions.0 90.8 15. have been traditionally neglected as a major wind turbine power quality parameter.5 5 5. Fortunately. Although the wind park topology is not addressed in any current standard.

Part 3: Limits Section 6: Assessment of harmonic emission limits for the connection of distorting installations to MV. respectively in 1991 and 1997. J Pierik. B Lemstrom (2004) “Dynamic models of wind farms for power system studies – status by IEA Wind R&D Annex 21”. Peças Lopes (M’80–SM’94) received the electrical engineering degree in 1981 and the Ph.Basic EMC publication.D. Dunn. IEC Standard. Lipman. A. IEC Standard. Johnsen. he has been leading several research and consultancy projects related with the integration of renewable generation and DG in the power system. Bayreuth. O Anaya-Lara. in 1988. Wind Engineering. G. Portugal. Tande JO.Sc. In 1989. Her research interests are broad within wind energy with a focus on grid integration and dynamic behavior wind turbines benefiting from her electrical and mechanical background.Part 3-7: Limits: Assessment of emission limits for the connection of fluctuating load installations to MV. P. .V. J. SYNTHESES The paper covers the wind power quality issue from the initially addressed grid connected single-turbine case to the actual spreading of Transmission System Operators (TSOs) grid codes and “wind power plant” behavior requirements. and is now Co-Coordinator of the Power Systems Unit. 2001. Lisbon. IEC Standard. Maclean. Estanqueiro is currently chair of the IEA . He has worked as a research scientist at Norwegian Electric Power Research Institute (1989). 1990-97) and SINTEF Energy Research (1997-). 1996. REFERENCES [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] IEC 61400-21:2001. also in electrical engineering. he joined the staff of INESC-Porto as a Senior Researcher. She received her electrical engineer degree from the Technical University of Lisbon (TUL) in 1986 where she also did her M. T. E-ON Netz Grid Code High and extra high voltage. in mechanical engineering. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering. Bossanyi. Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) . Whittle. W.Sc and PhD. N. A Estanqueiro. London. 2005. Throughout his career his research has focused on electrical engineering aspects of wind power. She works as a research scientist at INETI. Additionally. IEA: Variability of wind power and other renewables. 22-25 November 2004. in Proceedings of European Wind Energy Conference (EWEC). John O.frontwind. 4. Tande was born in Trondheim in 1962. Risø National Laboratory (Denmark. IEC 61000-3-7. http://www. UK. O Carlson. Available at http://www. Prof. Management options and strategies. 1980. University of Porto.com/ (URL). degree. p-54. vol. E Muljadi.1-7. The possibilities of extrapolation from standards to grids and the issue of “generalized grid codes” are addressed. Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) . in electrical engineering from the Norwegian Institute of Science and Technology in 1988. J. P. and C. “Analysis of requirements in selected Grid Codes”. Musgrove. pp. P Sørensen. H. Christiansen and D. both from the University of Porto.iea.asp?PUBS_ID=1572 Ana Estanqueiro was born in Coimbra in 1963. A Mullane. IEC 61000-3-6. Aug.Part 21: Measurement and assessment of power quality characteristics of grid connected wind turbines”. He received his M.org/Textbase/ publications/ free_new_Desc. HV and EHV power systems. and he has broad experience within the field including heading EU projects and working groups of IEC and IEA. HV and EHV power systems . 1996. E. nº 1. being currently Director of the Wind and Ocean Energy Research Unit as well as associate professor at Universidade Lusiada. Portugal since 1987. 2003. “Wind turbine generator systems . D. “Fluctuations in the output from wind turbine clusters”.International Energy Agency Wind Agreement and President of the PT IEP/IEC CTE 88 – Wind Turbines. E. A. Porto. M O’Malley. He received the Aggregation degree in 1996.