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fully edited. Content may change prior to final publication. Citation information: DOI 10.1109/TIA.2016.2626253, IEEE
Transactions on Industry Applications

Emerging Power Quality Challenges Due to Integration of

Renewable Energy Sources

Xiaodong Liang
Senior Member, IEEE
Memorial University of Newfoundland
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
St Johns, NL, Canada
Tel: 1-709-864-2751

Abstract Renewable energy becomes a key contributor reliably with renewable energy sources can be very
to our modern society, but their integration to power grid complicated. How to increase flexibility and reliability,
poses significant technical challenges. Power quality is an improve energy efficiency and power quality for
important aspect of renewable energy integration. The major
power quality concerns are: 1) Voltage and frequency
tomorrows smart grid are important considering the
fluctuations, which are caused by non-controllable variability potential huge investment over next decades on maintaining
of renewable energy resources. The intermittent nature of and expanding power grid to accommodate renewable
renewable energy resources due to ever-changing weather energy generation.
conditions leads to voltage and frequency fluctuations at the It was recognized that grid-connected renewable power
interconnected power grid. 2) Harmonics, which are generation would introduce power quality issues to power
introduced by power electronic devices utilized in renewable
energy generation. When penetration level of renewable
grid. From renewable energy side, renewable generation is
energy is high, the influence of harmonics could be non-dispatchable, and intermittent with high fluctuations
significant. In this paper, an extensive literature review is due to varying nature of renewable energy resources. As
conducted on emerging power quality challenges due to penetration level of renewable generation increases over
renewable energy integration. The paper consists of two time, such high fluctuations create serious power quality
sections: 1) Power quality problem definition. Wind turbines concerns. From power grid side, the grid side disturbances,
and solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and their power quality
issues are summarized. 2) Existing approaches to improve such as voltage sags caused by short circuit faults and
power quality. Various methods are reviewed, and the control frequency variations due to load and generation change,
technology based power quality improvement is the major would interact with the interconnected renewable energy
focus of the paper. The future research directions for sources, which creates more complicated and uncertain
emerging power quality challenges for renewable energy operating conditions. Power quality, among many other
integration are recommended. factors, appears to be one of the most important aspects that
Keywords Electric Energy Storage, Frequency Control, could affect the overall stability and reliability of
Harmonics Mitigation, Power Quality, Renewable Energy tomorrows power grid [3].
Integration, Voltage Control Many research results about different power quality
challenges and solutions due to renewable energy
integration have been reported. As smart grid attracts more
attention from academia and industry, there is an urgent
Renewable energy such as wind turbines and solar need to summarize existing approaches and technologies in
photovoltaic (PV) systems use natural resources and order to better guide future research and engineering effort
provide desirable green energy. The penetration of in this important area. This paper aims to offer an extensive
renewable energy is increasing worldwide. It was reported literature review on emerging power quality challenges due
in 2014 that wind, solar and biomass power plants provided to integration of renewable energy sources into power gird.
60% electricity generation in Denmark; about 30% of The paper focuses on the control technology based power
electricity demand in Portugal was supplied by non- quality improvement including virtual synchronous
hydropower renewable; Spain had 29% renewable energy machine (VSM) method (also known as virtual
generation. The advancement in renewable energy is synchronous generator (VSG) method) and virtual
exciting but also creates significant technical challenges to impedance control method. The future research directions
power industry [1, 2]. are also recommended in the paper, which highlight major
Our traditional power generation system is designed with areas with significant research potential.
large, centrally controlled power plants. Renewable energy, The paper is arranged as follows: In Section II, power
however, is distributed, independently controlled, and quality issues related to integration of wind power and solar
intermittent. Therefore, adapting power grid to operate PV generation are reviewed. The current start-of-art

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techniques for improving power quality using the control over the output range of generators. However, these
technology based approaches are summarized in Sections generators do not have the ability to control reactive power
III and IV, principles and applications for the virtual dynamically, static synchronous compensators
synchronous machine method for voltage and frequency (STATCOMS) or static var compensators (SVCs) are
control, and for the virtual impedance control method for usually needed to achieve reactive power compensation in
harmonic compensation are demonstrated in these sections. the collector system lines, transformers, and the point of
In Section V, the electric energy storage is particularly interconnection (POI). Type-3 and Type-4 wind turbine
reviewed, their role in power quality enhancement is generators can either absorb or generate reactive power, so
discussed. Conclusions are drawn and future research each generator follows a power factor reference that can be
directions are recommended in Section VI. adjusted by a plant-level supervisory controller dynamically
in order to achieve voltage control or reactive power control
II. POWER QUALITY ISSUES DUE TO INTEGRATION OF WIND at the POI. Faster-acting controls local to the generator can
AND SOLAR PV POWER GENERATION override the power factor reference to avoid exceeding
converter current and terminal voltage limits. Depending on
A. Wind Power individual wind power plant design, additional reactive
Wind power is produced by wind power plants. In the power support equipment may be added to meet connection
beginning of wind energy development, the size of a wind reactive power control and voltage ride-through
power plant was small ranging from under one megawatt to requirements especially for weak interconnections [6].
tens megawatts. In the past 40 years, its size has increased
significantly [4].
Wind power plants around the world had an estimated
installed capacity of 159 GW and produced 273 TWh of
electricity in 2009. This number includes both onshore and
offshore wind. The integration challenges presented may
differ between onshore and offshore wind power,
specifically for special transmission technologies for
offshore plants. The offshore segment mostly located in
Europe. Europes offshore wind capacity was 4 GW at the
end of 2011 [5].
The general configuration of a wind power plant is
shown in Fig. 1 (a) [5], a more detailed topology of a wind
power plant is shown in Fig. 1 (b) [6]. Comparing with
conventional power plants, wind power plants have
significantly different features, which are summarized in
Table 1 [6].
Usually a wind power plant can have two types of
presentations in power system modeling: 1) single turbine
presentation; 2) multi-turbine presentation [4, 6]. The single
turbine presentation is considered sufficient for power
system planning studies by Western Electricity (a)
Coordinating Council (WECC) [6]. However, further
studies in [4] indicate that a large wind power plant should
be modeled by multiple wind turbines, which represent the
unique characteristics of the location, turbine types, control
setting, and line impedances. In a multi-turbine
presentation, a wind power plant is divided into several
groups of wind turbines, and the wind speed is considered
uniform for each group. There are smoothing effect for
power and voltage fluctuation when multi-turbine
presentation is used, which more closely represents a real
wind power plant [4]. The wind power plant representation
remains to be an active research area [6].
Regarding reactive power compensation, because Type-
1 and Type-2 wind turbine generators are induction
generators, capacitors are added at the generator terminals (b)
to correct power factor. Several capacitor stages can be Fig. 1 A wind power plant: (a) general configuration [5]; (b) more detailed
used to maintain steady-state power factor close to unity typical topology [6]

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Conventional Power Plant Wind Power Plant
Topology One or a few large generating units, each unit could Typically hundreds of small generators deployed over a large area, each
be rated at 40MW to 1000MW+ unit could be rated at 1MW to 5MW
Prime mover Steam, gas, hydro turbines or combustion engines Wind turbines
Dispatch Dispatchable, maneuverable between maximum Non-dispatchable, limited maneuverability (curtailment, ramp rate limit,
and minimum limits output limit)
Real power Units have speed governors and are typically Real power follows the wind speed variation
control capable of automatic generation control (AGC).
Reactive Units are equipped with an automatic voltage Reactive power is managed at the plant level, through coordinated control
power control regulator, typically set for voltage control. of wind turbine control and/or plant level reactive compensation.
Location Located where convenient for fuel and transmission Located where the wind resource is good, may be far from load centers or
access strong transmission
Generator Synchronous generators Type 1 - Fixed-speed, induction generator;
Type 2 - variable slip, induction generators with variable rotor resistance;
Type 3 - variable speed, doubly-fed asynchronous generators with rotor-
side converter;
Type 4 - variable speed generators with full converter interface, a
generator can be induction, synchronous or permanent magnet generator.

mechanical inertia, therefore, PV power plants do not have

B. Solar PV Power
inherent inertial or frequency response capabilities [7].
Grid-connected solar PV power can be generated by
either solar PV power plants, or residential or commercial C. Power Quality Issues
PV systems. Solar PV power plants are large generation Power quality issues for renewable energy integration
facilities, and some of them exceeding 100 MW. These refer to: 1) voltage and frequency fluctuations, which are
large power plants are connected to transmission systems. caused by non-controllable variability of renewable energy
However, most PV systems are residential (up to several resources and also by power grid side disturbances, and 2)
kW) and commercial scale (up to several MW) connected harmonics, which are introduced by power electronic
to distribution networks [7]. converters used in renewable energy generation. As defined
Solar PV systems had 22 GW of global capacity and by IEEE std. 929 -2000, voltage, voltage flicker, frequency,
generated 20 TWh of electricity in 2009 [5]. It is stated in and distortion are four major parameters used to evaluate
[5] that though solar PV generation capacity is much power quality in PV systems. Deviation from standard
smaller than wind power capacity, it is expected to grow at values for these parameters represents out-of-bounds
a faster pace than wind over the next several decades. By conditions. The inverter may be required to ceases
2013, 138.9 GW of PV had been installed globally, and the energizing utility lines in this case [10, 11].
growth between 2009 and 2013 was significant [8].
The general configuration of a solar PV power plant is
shown in Fig. 2 (a) [5], a more detailed topology of a solar
PV power plant is shown in Fig. 2 (b) [7]. The topology for
a residential solar PV system is shown in Fig. 3 [9].
Similar to wind power plants, WECC recommends a
single-generator equivalent model for PV power plants
connected to transmission systems, which is considered to
be adequate for bulk-level power flow and dynamic
simulations. For large number of PV systems connected to
distribution systems, the aggregated PV generation can be
represented by an equivalent generator at a transmission
bus, preferably behind an equivalent substation transformer
and medium voltage feeder [7]. The solar PV power plant
representation remains to be an active research area [7].
As shown in Fig. 2 (b), large PV power plants typically
have medium voltage radial feeders, and PV inverters are
connected to these feeders via step-up transformers with
several inverters sharing one step-up transformer.
Capacitors or other reactive support might be present in PV
power plants, and they work in conjunction with the
inverters to meet reactive power capability and control
requirements at the POI. Inverters have low short circuit (a)
current contribution, high-bandwidth controls, and lack of

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Fig. 2 A solar PV power plant: (a) a general configuration [5]; (b) a typical topology with control systems [7]

At a low penetration level, the power quality issue is at

device and local grid level, and the solution is usually device
specific. At a high penetration level, the grid-level technologies
and strategies are needed [3, 5]. It is vital to develop
appropriate control architecture and technologies so that
renewable energy are able to take part in the regulation of
future power systems in an autonomous and responsible way.

C.2 Power Grid Side

Another power quality issue that affects renewable energy
Fig. 3 A typical topology for a residential solar PV system [8] integration is due to power grid side disturbances. The power
grid-code requirements for grid-connected renewable power
C.1 Renewable Energy Side plants have experienced a continuous evolution in different
Wind and solar PV power generation both experience countries to ensure a reliable power system operation.
intermittency due to a combination of non-controllable According to several European grid-codes, PV power plants
variability and partial unpredictability features of wind and must be able to ride through specific disturbances without
solar resources. A wind turbine needs wind to generate disconnections [11]. In 2014, IEEE standard 1547a released a
electricity, and a solar PV system requires sunlight to operate. new definition for the voltage sag trip settings that would
When wind speeds and available sunlight vary, the output of allow the equipment to ride through during voltage sag. This
wind and solar power generation varies accordingly. The non- new definition allows a distributed generation not to trip if the
controllable variability could result in voltage and frequency duration of voltage sags is between default settings and
fluctuations on the transmission system. Such power output maximum settings, and an agreement is met between the
fluctuation requires additional energy to balance supply and distributed resource owner and the local utility. The
demand of the power grid on an instantaneous basis, and recommended settings from IEEE standard 1547a are shown
requires frequency regulation and voltage support [5]. in Table II [12].
The availability of wind and sunlight is partially A power quality survey for three Spanish PV power plants
unpredictable. However, such unpredictability can be improved was carried out from 2008 to 2011 [11]. One PV power plant
through improved weather and generation forecasting had dual axistrackers with 1 MW capacity, two fixed array
technologies, which aim to predict weather and generation PV power plants had 4 MW and 5 MW capacities. Voltage
output from wind and solar resources more accurately at sags were monitored using a commercial power quality
various timescales [5]. analyzer, and collected at the 20 kV high voltage side of the

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POI of the three PV power plants. The field measurements based on statistical features are classified by use of three
took place from July 2008 to December 2011. Only PV power machine learning techniques, modular probabilistic neural
plants and their ancillary loads are connected to the POI network (MPNN), support vector machines (SVMs), and least
during field measurements. The recorded 137 voltage sags are square support vector machines (LS-SVMs) [14].
shown in Table III [11]. It is found that 59% of the total The solar PV systems connected to the utility power grid do
recorded voltage sags resulted in 0.8-0.9 pu residual voltages; not regulate voltage, but inject current into the power grid. The
another 20% led to 0.7-0.8 pu residual voltage; while the rest voltage operating range for PV inverters is chosen for power
more severe voltage sags were distributed at various small system protection that responds to abnormal utility conditions,
percentages forming the total case. not for voltage regulation. When the current injection from PV
The control system for the PV inverter and energy storage systems into the power grid has large quantity, they could
system can be designed to improve voltage level during impact utility voltage: 1) If the PV current injection on a utility
voltage sags due to power grid side disturbances, and thus, line remains less than the load on that line, the utilitys voltage
improve PV power plants ride through capability. This can be regulation devices will continue to operate normally; 2) If the
one of promising future research directions for renewable PV current injection exceeds the load, the corrective action is
energy integration. required, because voltage regulation devices do not normally
have directional current sensing capability. The appropriate
operating interconnection voltage range for solar PV system
VOLTAGES [12] can be set between 88% and 110% of the nominal voltage if no
operating voltage settings are specified by IEEE Std. 929-2000
For a wind power plant power system, IEC Standard 61400-
21 recommends that the 10-minute average of voltage
fluctuation should be within 5% of its nominal value [15].

A.1 Conventional Methods

The reactive power compensation is one effective method
TABLE III for voltage control. Based on advanced power electronic
THE RECORDED VOLTAGE SAGS FOR THREE PV POWER PLANTS [11] technologies and innovative designs, the flexible alternating
current transmission system (FACTS) equipment can be
applied to improve the capacity, stability and flexibility of AC
transmission, making it more capable of transmitting large-
capacity renewable generation. Thyristor controlled series
compensators (TCSCs) can be installed in transmission lines to
reduce electrical distance, increase damping and mitigate
system oscillation; a SVC, a STATCOM, or a controllable
shunt reactor (CSRs) can be shunt-installed on substation buses
to solve the reactive power compensation and voltage control
problems in renewable energy integration [4, 5, 16, 17].

A.2 Virtual Synchronous Machine Method

In a power system, voltage variation is related to reactive Conventional generation power plants can maintain and
power flow, while frequency variation is determined by the rate regulate voltage and frequency during disturbances because a
of change in real power flow [4, 13]. The smoothing of voltage synchronous generator stores large amount of kinetic energy
and frequency fluctuations can thus be achieved through the due to inertia, and this kinetic energy can be released or
control of reactive power and real power, respectively. absorbed to compensate imbalance in electrical and mechanical
power of the generator [18]. In a power grid, large rotational
A. Voltage Control masses of synchronous generators can provide significant
Reference [14] presents the classification of power quality amount of inertia. When a frequency variation occurs in the
disturbances caused by change in load and environmental system, the inertial reserve of power system counter-acts the
characteristics (such as change in solar insolation and wind initial frequency deviation before the primary reserve brings
speed). Various forms of voltage sag and swell occurrences the frequency back to a steady state value [19, 20]. Power
caused by such changes are considered in the study. Ten electronic inverters as interface between renewable energy and
different statistical features extracted through S-transform are utility power grid are static without any rotational energy,
used in the classification step. The power quality disturbances which leads to negligible inertia. Therefore, extensive usage of

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these devices can reduce the equivalent rotational inertia of The energy storage is connected to the renewable generation
power grid. Low moment of inertia of power grid degrades side of the VSM in Fig. 4 (a). The combination of renewable
frequency stability because frequency is inversely proportional energy and energy storage can change voltage, and thus, can
to the systems inertia, in this case, large frequency oscillations serve as the stator output of the virtual synchronous machine
could occur during severe disturbances [18, 21, 22]. [23].
To solve this problem and enhance power system stability, The rotational virtual inertia is a critical aspect of the VSM.
the virtual synchronous machine (VSM) method was proposed It is recommended that the virtual inertia can be attained by
in order to reduce voltage and frequency fluctuations and adding a short-term energy storage to any distributed
achieve renewable energy integration. This method was first generation unit together with an intelligent control interface to
introduced by Beck and Hesse in 2007 as a new power the grid [26, 27]. The corresponding block diagram for a VSM
electronics based approach. It models grid-connected power implementation is shown in Fig. 5 (a). The emulation of the
electronic based renewable energy generators as an mechanical inertia effect can also be approximately represented
electromechanical synchronous machine. The fundamental by the synchronous machine per unit power balance in the
concept of the VSM, real power and reactive power flow Laplace domain. A block diagram illustrating the swing
between the renewable energy source and power grid through equation used for implementing the VSM, together with its
VSM are shown in Fig. 4 [23]. interface to the rest of the converter control system and to the
electric power system is shown in Fig. 5 (b) [28].


Fig. 5 Inertia emulation by virtual synchronous machines: (a) a block diagram
for a VSM implementation - virtual inertia attained by a short-term energy
storage [26, 27]. (b) virtual inertia attained by swing equation of synchronous
machines [28].
Fig. 4 VSM method: (a) fundamental concept [23]. (b) active power and
reactive power flow due to variations on local induced renewable generation Behaving the same as a synchronous generator, the VSM
side (left) and voltage and frequency variation on the grid side (right) [23]. can handle active power and reactive power flow in both
directions as shown in Fig. 4 (b), it is caused either by
During the last decade, significant developments have been variations from renewable generation side or by demands/
made to operate power electronic converters as VSMs, which disturbances from grid side [23].
offers a promising way for all distributed energy resources to Ref [25] shows the VSM control enhances power quality
follow the same mechanism of conventional synchronous and grid stability for distributed generation, which embodies a
machines. The principle of a VSM is based on combining hysteresis controlled three phase inverter with a synchronous
advantages of todays dynamic power electronic inverter machine model. The VSM based control is able to regulate
technology with those of static and dynamic operating active and reactive power separately and bi-directionally by
properties of synchronous machines. The goal is to control the setting virtual torque and virtual excitation to meet the power
grid-interface converter of a distributed generator or an energy system requirements. Furthermore, a virtual rotating mass is
storage in such a way that it acts like a real synchronous implemented in the VSM control in order to increase the inertia
machine [24, 25]. The properties of synchronous machines are in the grid and improve the transient frequency stability similar
kept in this new modeling approach, including the interaction to a conventional synchronous generator. The virtual damping
between grid and generator such as a remote power dispatch,
reaction to transients, and a rotating mass [23].

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of the VSM control can reduce the frequency and power B. Frequency Control
oscillation in the grid [25]. The VSM method is mostly utilized for frequency control
The combination of the reactive power compensation and due to its ability to add virtual inertia to control power
the VSM control is also investigated by researchers. A VSM electronic device based systems.
based STATCOM controller operating as synchronous Ref [28] demonstrate the equivalence between VSM-based
condenser is proposed in [24]. Virtual impedance and virtual control and frequency-droop controllers. The demonstrated
inertia are implemented in the proposed controller to make the equivalence links a single theoretical frame into these two well
STATCOM operate as a variable synchronous condenser. With established concepts, which have been developed in separate
virtual inertia, the STATCOM will naturally synchronize with contexts.
the grid accurately if there is any change in the frequency Droop-based schemes have become the preferred solution
without the risk of losing synchronization. Virtual impedance for control of voltage source converters (VSCs), which can
can limit the harmonics produced by the converter itself and ensure stand-alone operation and load sharing among parallel
from the system, where additionally negative sequence connected VSC units during steady state and transients,
impedance can be added to enhance the response in case of similarly to traditional synchronous machines. The principle of
unbalanced phase voltages exists in the system such as during frequency-droop controller is demonstrated by a block diagram
asymmetrical faults. This VSM-based STATCOM controller is in Fig. 7. The active power, Pel, measured at the grid interface
less sensitive to power or voltage fluctuation induced by of the power electronic converter is low pass filtered before it
renewable energy sources or power grid with a better is used as the measurement feedback signals Pm. These filters
synchronization performance, therefore, it can achieve an are necessary to stabilize the control loops. Similar to VSM
improved voltage regulation than the conventional STATCOM method, the instantaneous voltage phase angle reference
controlled in the d-q frame [24]. resulting from the droop controllers is given by the integral of
The comparison between a VSM based STATCOM the frequency reference. The equivalence between VSM-based
controller and a conventional cascaded d-q frame STATCOM and frequency-droop-based controllers are shown in Fig. 8
controller are provided in [24]. The following features are [28].
demonstrated for a VSM based STATCOM controller:
The QV control loop, which is used to regulate the
magnitude of the bus voltage at the Point of Common
Coupling (PCC), has nearly 20 dB higher gain than the d-q
frame controller in the low frequency range. This feature
ensures a much better resistance against the PCC voltage
variation [24].
The VSM based controller has a much smaller frequency
Fig. 7 A frequency-droop controller for microgrids [28].
range (about two decades) of negative impedance than the
d-q frame controller, it is a favorable feature which
indicates a more stable system [24].
When the input power to the wind farm varies by 0.25 pu,
the PCC phase-phase voltage is much better regulated
using a VSM based controller as shown in Fig. 6 [24].

Fig. 8 Comparison of various concepts for VSM and droop controllers [28].

Ref [29] proposes a self-tuning VSM method to support

dynamic frequency control in a diesel-hybrid power system.
This method controls the grid-interface converter of an energy
storage system to emulate the inertial response and the
damping power of a synchronous generator. The self-tuning
algorithms are developed and used to continuously search for
optimal parameters during the operation of the VSM control to
Fig. 6 Comparison of PCC voltage regulation performance between a VSM minimize the amplitude and rate of change of frequency
based STATCOM controller and a conventional cascaded d-q frame
variations and the power flow through the energy storage [29].
STATCOM controller when power fluctuates by 0.25 pu [24].
Other frequency control methods without involving the
VSM are also developed. For example, an application of

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superconducting magnetic energy storage (SMES) is utilized in The model of SMES unit consists of a delta-star
[30] to minimize output frequency fluctuations of a wind farm transformer, a LC filter, a bidirectional voltage source inverter
for an isolated power system. The superconducting magnetic (VSI), a DC link capacitor, a two quadrant DC-DC chopper
energy storage (SMES) is a superconducting coil that stores and a huge inductor as the superconducting coil as shown in
energy in the magnetic field generated by DC current flowing Fig. 9. The bi-directional VSI and two quadrant DC-DC
through it. The SMES system can acquire a rapid response to chopper are used to transfer both active and reactive powers
the fluctuations of the wind power by absorbing and releasing between wind generator and superconducting coil. The
the energy. Due to this feature plus high efficiency, high power capacity of SMES is determined by the inductance and critical
density, and long life time, the SMES system becomes a current of superconducting coil. Using the SMES system, the
preferable energy storage solution for wind power generation. frequency fluctuation can be significantly reduced as shown in
The applications of SMES for wind farms include: 1) improve Fig. 10 [30].
stability, 2) regulate the output power and voltage, and 3)
minimize the system frequency fluctuations [30].

Fig. 9 The configuration of a SMES unit [30].

Due to application of power electronic converters/inverters,
harmonics are produced by renewable energy generation.
Various harmonics mitigation and compensation methods have
been investigated and proposed [8, 11, 31-35]. Active power
filters form a commonly used research stream in harmonic
reduction [31, 32]. Another main research stream is to design
and implement innovative control methods for grid interfacing
converters to compensate harmonics [35], which is the main
(a) focus in this section.
Ref [35] provided a comprehensive review for harmonic
compensation using control of converters for renewable
energy-based distributed generation (DG). There are three
control methods for harmonic compensation: the current-
control method (CCM), the voltage-control method (VCM),
and the hybrid-control method (HCM). The harmonic
compensation can be either for local loads or at the point of
common coupling (PCC). A summary of different harmonic
compensation schemes is shown in Table IV [35].
The virtual-impedance-based control scheme provides an
Fig. 10 Response of system frequency with variable wind speed: (a) wind speed attractive way to shape dynamic profiles of converters. Over
[30]; (b) frequency response without and with the SMES system [30]. last a few years, the virtual impedance method was

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increasingly employed for controlling voltage-source transient and grid faults. During transients, the virtual
converters and current-source converters, mainly driven by the impedance can enhance the dynamic performance of power
fast-growing renewable power generation and energy efficient controllers [36, 38]. For the second area, a robust virtual
loads in power grid. The virtual impedance control loop can be impedance implementation method is developed, which can
embedded as an additional degree of freedom for active effectively mitigate voltage distortions caused by harmonic
stabilization and disturbance rejection, or employed as a loads [38].
command reference generator for the converters to provide The control block diagram for the voltage control and
ancillary services. The virtual impedance classification based virtual impedance implementation is shown in Fig. 12 [38]. A
on their functions are summarized in Fig. 11. The virtual case study demonstrates the effectiveness of the proposed
impedance control method can be used in stabilization, power virtual impedance harmonic mitigation method: 1) without a
flow control, fault ride through and harmonic/unbalance virtual impedance, a physical impedance with 0.047 pu
compensation. The principle of the virtual impedance control reactance (4 mH) and 0.031 pu resistance (1 ) is connected at
method in various applications are summarized in [36]. the distributed generation (DG) output, the total harmonic
The application of virtual impedance control method on distortion (THD) of the PCC voltage is 9.21% (the
harmonic compensation for renewable energy sources have corresponding waveforms, DG voltage, DG current, and PCC
been reported in [8, 37, 38]. The virtual impedance can be voltage, are shown in Fig. 13); 2) with a virtual impedance, a
placed between the interfacing converter output and main 0.044 pu virtual reactance is implemented, and thus, the feeder
power grid to improve system stability and provide proper reactance is reduced to 0.003 pu and the resistance remains the
sharing of harmonic compensation among multiple distributed same, the THD of the PCC voltage is reduced to 4.77% (the
generation units according to their available ratings [35, 38]. corresponding waveforms, DG voltage, DG current, and PCC
The optimal design value, robust implementation, and proper voltage, are shown in Fig. 14) [38].
utilization of the virtual impedance for the performance
enhancement for distributed generation are key aspects for the TABLE IV
virtual impedance method. A virtual impedance design and SUMMARY OF DIFFERENT HARMONIC COMPENSATION SCHEMES [35]
implementation approach is proposed by considering these key
aspects in [38].
In Ref [38], two areas of power system performance are
improved by utilizing virtual impedance approach: 1) improve
system performance during transient and grid faults; 2) achieve
harmonics mitigation. For the first area, flexible small-signal
models of microgrids in different operation modes are
developed first, the desired distributed generation impedance
range is then determined considering the stability, transient
response, and power flow performance of distributed
generation units. An adaptive impedance concept is proposed
to further improve power control performances during the

Fig. 11 Virtual impedance classification based on their functions for VSCs and CSCs [36]

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Fig. 12 The voltage control and virtual impedance implementation [38]

Another harmonic compensation research effort is to use the

multifunctional grid-tied inverter (MFGTI) [39-41], an
advanced grid-tied inverter, which can not only interface
renewable energy into power grid, but also enhance power
quality at its grid-tied point as an auxiliary service. In general,
the capacity of a grid-tied inverter is larger than that of the
installed PV arrays and wind turbines, so it can accommodate
stochastic and intermittent features of solar irradiation and
wind speed. A grid-tied inverter does not always operate at its
nominal capacity point, and its surplus capacity is available in
most of its operation time. Therefore, grid-tied inverters have
additional capacity that can be utilized to enhance the power
quality, and no extra power quality conditioner may be needed
in an inverter-dominated microgrid. Because the apparent
Fig. 13 Without a virtual impedance - single DG unit with nonlinear load in capacity of an MFGTI for power quality compensation is
islanding operation (with physical impedance X = 0.47 pu, R = 0.031 pu) [38] limited, optimal utilization of such a limited capacity becomes
a critical aspect of the research. To solve the problem, Ref [39]
proposes a comprehensive power quality evaluation algorithm
to achieve the optimal control by an analytic hierarchy process
The proposed optimal compensation strategy of MFGTIs is
based on a comprehensive power quality index (CPQI) model.
The harmonic and reactive current are considered to have same
weight for traditional power quality conditioners, while the
proposed MFGTIs objective-oriented optimal compensation
strategy considers the harmonic and reactive current
components in the microgrid with different contributing
weights. The proposed method is proved to be effective
through a case study: 1) before compensation, the THD of the
utility voltage is 4.05%, and the THD of grid-tied current at
PCC is 12.97%; 2) after DG1 starts power quality
Fig. 14 With a virtual impedance - single DG unit with nonlinear load in
islanding operation (with virtual reactance: X = 0.044 pu, physical impedance
compensation, the THD of the utility voltage is 3.88%, and the
X = 0.003 pu, R = 0.031 pu) [38] THD of grid-tied current at PCC is 6.11% [39].

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It is well recognized that renewable energy sources will

produce harmonics, however, field and lab measurement data
are currently needed in order to study characteristics and obtain
typical harmonic spectrums generated from wind and solar
power generation. Some field measurements are presented in
[33, 34], but they are not enough to form a clear picture of
harmonic characteristics. Future research shall be focused on
collecting more harmonic data through lab experiments and
field measurements for renewable energy sources.

V. ELECTRICAL ENERGY STORAGE Fig. 16 Classification of electric energy storage according to energy forms [42]
Electrical energy storage can be utilized in power grid for
the following purpose: 1) reduce electricity costs by storing Although the voltage is generally controlled by transformer
electricity obtained at off-peak hours when its price is lower, tap changers and reactive power with phase modifiers in power
and using it at peak hours instead of using the electricity grid, electric energy storage can also help with voltage
bought at higher prices; 2) support customers when power grid adjustment. The energy storage located at the end of a heavily
failures occur to improve the reliability of the power supply; 3) loaded line can help to improve voltage drops by discharging
maintain and improve power quality [42]. electricity and reduce voltage rises by charging electricity [42].
Fig. 15 shows energy storage applications for renewable For a small isolated power network such as an island,
energy integration [42]. The different types of electrical energy electric energy storage enables utility to supply stable power to
storage can be classified according to energy form as shown in consumers, where diesel generators and renewable energy
Fig. 16 [42]. sources are usually used together [42, 43, 44]. Electrical energy
A basic service requirement for power utilities is to supply storage can be combined with advanced control systems to
power to customers with the voltage and frequency within achieve the improved stability, reliability, and power quality
tolerance. On the other hand, renewable energy output is for renewable energy integration [29, 30, 45, 46].
undependable because of changing weather conditions. The
fluctuation in the renewable generation output makes system VI. CONCLUSIONS
frequency control difficult, and electric energy storage can In this paper, an extensive literature review is conducted for
provide frequency control functions to achieve effective emerging power quality challenges due to integration of
frequency control [42]. renewable energy sources to power grid. The major quality
issues (voltage and frequency fluctuations, harmonics) are
reviewed, existing state of art technologies related to them are
summarized. The electric energy storage and its role in power
quality due to renewable energy source integration is also
covered in this review.
The future research directions are recommended as follows:
1) It appears the virtual synchronous machine method is
a very promising future research direction for voltage
and frequency control. It can be utilized by itself or
combined with other functions such as reactive power
2) The virtual impedance method is an important method
for harmonic compensation based on converter
control. This method also shows significant future
potential to improve system stability.
3) More efforts should be put in obtaining field
measurements on harmonic spectrums for wind and
PV power plants, and residential PV systems in order
to investigate their harmonic characteristics.
4) The innovative control schemes for inverters should
be developed to cope with the grid-side disturbances
Fig. 15 Electric energy storage applications for renewable energy (RE) for improving renewable energy sources ride-through
integration [42] capability.

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Transactions on Power Electronics, Vol. 30, No. 3, pp. 1255-1265, VIII. BIOGRAPHIES
March 2015.
[40] Zheng Zeng, Rongxiang Zhao, and Huan Yang, Coordinated Control of
Multi-Functional Grid-Tied Inverters Using Conductance and Xiaodong Liang (M06SM09) was born in
Susceptance Limitation, IET Power Electronics, Vol. 7, No. 7, pp. Lingyuan, China. She received the B.Eng. and
18211831, 2014. M.Eng. degrees from Shenyang Polytechnic
[41] Narsa Reddy Tummuru, Mahesh K. Mishra, and S. Srinivas, University, Shenyang, China in 1992 and 1995,
Multifunctional VSC Controlled Microgrid Using Instantaneous respectively, the M.Sc. degree from the University
Symmetrical Components Theory, IEEE Transactions on Sustainable of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada in 2004, and
Energy, Vol. 5, No. 1, January 2014. the Ph.D. degree from the University of Alberta,
[42] International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) White Paper, Edmonton, Canada in 2013, all in Electrical
Electrical Energy Storage, Geneva, Switzerland 2011. Engineering. Her research interests include power
[43] Mahamadou Abdou Tankari, Mamadou Balo Camara, Brayima Dakyo, system dynamics, power quality, and electric
and Gilles Lefebvre, Use of Ultracapacitors and Batteries for Efficient machines.
Energy Management in WindDiesel Hybrid System, IEEE From 1995 to 1999, she served as a lecturer at Northeastern University,
Transactions on Sustainable Energy, Vol. 4, No. 2, pp. 414-424, April Shenyang, China. In October 2001, she joined Schlumberger in Edmonton,
2013. Canada, and in 2009 was promoted to be a Principal Power Systems Engineer
[44] Kanzumba Kusakana, Optimal Scheduled Power Flow for Distributed with this large oil service company. After serving Schlumberger for 12 years,
Photovoltaic/Wind/Diesel Generators with Battery Storage System, IET she joined Washington State University in Vancouver, Washington, United
Renewable Power Generation, Vol. 9, No. 8, pp. 916924, 2015. States in August 2013. From August 2013 to May 2015, she was an Assistant
[45] Phatiphat Thounthong, Arkhom Luksanasakul, Poolsak Koseeyaporn, Professor at Washington State University. In July 2015, she joined Memorial
and Bernard Davat, Intelligent Model-Based Control of a Standalone University of Newfoundland in St. Johns, Canada, where she is currently an
Photovoltaic/Fuel Cell Power Plant With Supercapacitor Energy Assistant Professor.
Storage, IEEE Transactions on Sustainable Energy, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. Dr. Liang is a registered professional engineer in the provinces of Alberta
240-249, January 2013. and Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.
[46] Xiaodong Liang, "Emerging Power Quality Challenges Due to
Integration of Renewable Energy Sources", Proceedings of 2016 IEEE
Industry Applications Society (IAS) Annual Meeting, Portland, OR,
USA, October 2-6, 2016.

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