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Future Multi-Terminal HVDC Transmission Systems using Voltage Source Converters

Jiebei Zhu Institute for Energy and Environment University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK, G1 1XW E-mail:
AbstractDue to the potential future energy crisis and

Campbell Booth Institute for Energy and Environment University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK, G1 1XW E-mail: voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission technology becomes a feasible and economical solution compared to HVAC transmission. . Compared to HVAC, VSC HVDC transmission is able to flexibly control active and reactive power, and can alleviate the propagation of voltage and frequency fluctuations due to wind variations in wind strength. The fact that HVDC transmission lines can be routed underground eliminating hazards such as corona makes HVDC attractive and environmentally friendly. For this reason, they are sometimes known as the invisible transmission lines [2]. DC can also transport relatively more power at the same voltage/insulation level as AC. Therefore, HVDC transmission is considered an effective way of connecting offshore wind farms to the main grid. Two techniques, the classical line commutated converter (LCC) and the voltage-source converter (VSC), have been used for HVDC applications. Compared with the LCC HVDC, VSC HVDC has many advantages [4][5]. It is able to control the active and reactive power independently and supply a passive network. Furthermore, power flow reversal can be realised by reversing DC current direction without reversing DC voltage polarity. There is no need for communications between the converters at each node, and this is an important advantage that can facilitate the creation of a multi-terminal HVDC system. A VSC multi-terminal HVDC (MTDC) system has superiority over a two-terminal HVDC system, in that it facilitates gradual expansion of distributed networks, the input and output power can be controlled flexibly in order to increase the total power transportation capacity. Initially, a double-input-single-output HVDC was proposed, which would connect two wind farms to the AC grid through one DC link, and this has been studied in terms of system control and stability [6]. MTDC systems have also been proposed for urban sub-transmission [7], oil and gas platforms [8], and premium quality power parks [9]. The objective of this paper is to discuss MTDC with respect to the following aspects: Motivations and historical proposals for MTDC transmission; Local control for each terminal of a MTDC system; Master control for DC voltage regulation and power coordination within an overall MTDC system.

ever increasing population, wind power, as a renewable energy source producing no emissions and with a sufficient wind resource in many parts of the world, is attracting increasing interest and growing rapidly. Offshore wind strength is relatively much stronger than onshore levels and many large-scale wind farms (greater than 1GW) are planned to be constructed in offshore location and must transmit power over long distances. Voltage-source converter based High Voltage Direct Current (VSC HVDC) transmission system, which enables fast active and reactive power control and has relatively lower losses than conventional AC transmission, is a potential solution for offshore power transmission. Offshore wind farms usually have widely dispersed locations in a strong wind area. Furthermore, VSCs have a limited transmission capacity due to limitations on IGBT and capacitors ratings. For these reasons, a multi-terminal HVDC (MTDC) transmission system, which can extract and deliver power from and to several terminals and provide power to more than one terminal, is an attractive method for offshore wind power transmission. In addition, MTDC has been proposed in other fields such as urban sub-transmission and offshore oil/gas. A detailed description of a MTDC control scheme is presented and its operation demonstrated. The paper concludes with an overview of future research in this field.
Index TermsMulti-terminal HVDC, MTDC, Voltage Source Converter, Vector Control, Voltage Margin.


s the global population grows, power engineers must establish alternative energy sources to gradually replace fossil-fuelled sources like coal and oil, which emit greenhouse gases that are widely believed to result in climate change. Energy supplies for the future are facing a severe shortage and require increased levels of security. For these reasons, renewable energy, investment in which is attracting public funds and other financial incentives, has been significantly developed in the past decade. In the future, proposed wind farms at distances of over 60 km from the shore will be connected to the mainland grid only through DC links [1], DC being used due to the large capacitive current losses associated with AC links. Typically, existing and potential offshore wind farms may be located as far as 100-150 km from the shore. For this reason, high

2 II. MOTIVATIONS FOR MULTI-TERMINAL VSC HVDC A. High Voltage AC System HVDC transmission system offers significant potential benefits for both long-distance power transmission and distribution applications. Though HVDC systems require significant investment, the investment can be effective, particularly as the transmission distance increases.
Figure 3. Double-input-single-output HVDC links(DISOC-HVDC)

B. VSC HVDC Basic Concept

Figure 1. VSC HVDC system components

A basic VSC HVDC, as shown in Figure 1 consists of two converter stations which use series-connected fast-switching IGBTs to transform three-phase AC voltage to DC and vice versa at each end of the DC link. With the SPWM (Sinusoidal Pulse-Width-Modulation) controlled VSC, it is possible to deliver virtually any phase angle and voltage amplitude to the AC grid, by changing the PWM modulation depth and relative phase displacement respectively. C. MTDC Motivation and Proposals In addition to transmitting power over long distances, HVDC has also been used to interface independent AC systems and to enable voltage and frequency support to be provided from one system to another. Due to its versatility and fast control capabilities, it also has the potential to be utilised for the interconnection of wind farms. It can also be used to provide overall (HVDC and connected AC) grid power flow control functions as is the case with conventional AC generators. However, there is considerably higher cost (when compared with AC systems) associated with VSC HVDC due to the requirements for converter stations at each end of a single HVDC link. In order to reduce these converter station costs, to effectively utilise the existing assets and to provide greater flexibility, MTDC HVDC systems, which can reduce the number of required converter stations, have been proposed in many papers [6][7][8][9][11]. Voltage source converter (VSC) is the possible solution for the inverters used in MTDC as most of the AC systems connected to MV/LV substations are passive AC networks [7]. 1) DISOC HVDC system for offshore wind farms

A multi-terminal HVDC topology, termed double -input-single-output HVDC system, has been studied in [6][12] as a means to economically connect two neighbouring independent wind farms to the AC grid. Paper [12] compared multi-terminal DISOC (Double-input-single-output) HVDC system with two SISOC (Single-input-single-output) HVDC links, focusing on a qualitative analysis of the behaviour of each topology, and determined the general performance of DISOC-HVDC. Paper [6] investigated the electrical response of a DISOC-HVDC under different fault conditions by simulation. However, as acknowledged by the authors, a detailed analysis of the system response and the control strategy was not carried out and research in this area is still required.


MTDC for oil and gas platforms

Figure 4. Three multi-terminal HVDC used for platforms

Offshore oil and gas platforms sometimes use gas turbines to generate electrical power for operation. These gas turbines may contribute to large emission of greenhouse gases [13]. There is therefore an opportunity to consider providing power to these platforms from offshore wind farms. In [14], an interconnection between offshore platforms and wind farms has been proposed by utilizing a three-terminal HVDC transmission arrangement. The voltage margin control method [15], which will be discussed in the next section, was employed in the simulation presented in the paper. The results showed that the proposed simulation with the control strategy resulted in system stability, under both steady state and dynamic operation. Without any communication between each terminal, the MTDC system, using voltage margin control methods, can maintain DC voltages even after disturbances by returning the DC voltage to desired levels [14].

Figure 2. Single-input-single-output HVDC links (SISOC-HVDC)


MTDC for urban distribution

Figure 5. Urban MTDC distribution system

Presently, HVDC transmission technology has rarely been utilised in urban networks [7]. The development of power VSCs, capable of controlling and supplying active and rective power independently, makes MTDC potentially feasible for urban distribution (with no generation to supply reactive power). There are potential economic and performance benefits associated with using MTDC for such power distribution applications. In [7], the authors have studied the behaviour of a proposed two-input-eight-output MTDC system and the results show that the system can operate effectively under a variety of operating conditions. Specially, a fault occurring on the AC network of one inverter terminal had little impact on the other AC systems supplied via other terminals. The paper concludes that MTDC for urban is a potential alternative to a classical AC distribution system in urban areas of large cities.

Figure 6. Control system of HVDC VSC

III. CONTROL METHODS OF MTDC MTDC control systems consist of two elements: local control and master control [15][16][17]. The local controllers control the specific converters by calculating the PWM pulses for the converter bridges. The master control optimises the overall performance of the MTDC by regulating the DC side voltage. A. Local Control There are four control modes that can be adapted in MTDC network local control: constant active power; constant DC voltage; constant DC current; and constant AC voltage. For most circumstances where the inverters supply passive networks, the constant AC voltage mode should be chosen for inverter control in order to maintain AC supply voltage magnitude and frequency at constant or near-constant levels. Due to the strongly coupled nonlinear system of MTDC, close-loop dq reference frame control, which implements decoupled active and reactive power control, has to be applied to control the local control systems for each local inverter.

The control system of a HVDC VSC can be demonstrated by referring to Figure 6. The AC voltage and current of HVDC VSC terminal at reference point X for are measured and separate into d- and q-axis voltage and currents in abc-to-dq transformation block in order to implement independent active and reactive control. Frequency is also measured by a phase-locked loop whose output is the angular frequency s and time integral =st[20] as the reference for the abc-to-dq and the dq-to-abc transformations. The outer controller, which constitutes subtraction blocks and proportional integral (PI) controllers, is used to achieve the reference currents for the desired active and reactive power and voltage levels. The inner current controller calculates the d- and q-axis modulation indices from the reference (target) and actual (measured) values. The indices are then transferred to the abc reference frame for the PWM operation on all three phases. 1) AC Grid side control

Figure 7. Schematic diagram of grid side inverter

The operation of an AC grid side inverter has been comprehensively studied in [18] and this paper will only provide a brief overview. From the Figure 7, point X is the reference point for measuring voltage, active and reactive power. Based on the abc reference frame, the following relationship can be derived: =


The dq reference frame transformation is processed [14] and the equivalent equation (1) is given by:

4 and (10) which also include the control logic of the inner current controller: 2 1 = ( + + ) (11)

+ +


The phase locked loop (PLL) which is phase locked with reference point X provides a real-time phase angle reference for the abc-dq-abc transformation. The d axis in the dq reference frame is aligned with the voltage phasor of phase a at reference point X in abc stationary reference; this leads to Vq=0 and Vd=Vx. Therefore, equation (2) can be further expanded as:

( + + + )


The AC grid-side inverter also fulfils the function of DC voltage regulation. Based on the power balancing equation and equation (4), the power relationship between the AC and DC side of the inverter is given as: = =
+ = (13) Thus, by combining equations (8) and (13), an expression for DC voltage variation expression with respect to the d- and q-axes modulation indices for DC voltage regulation is expressed as: 1 3 = 4 ( + ) (14) In a similar fashion to the AC current control loop, the DC voltage PI controller is also expressed as:

1 +

3 2


The apparent power (S), active and reactive power (PAC and QAC) exported to the AC grid are given as: = 2 ( + ) = 2 = 2
3 3 3

(4) (5) (6)

= 2 + 2 ( )


As mentioned previously, the inverter on the grid side operates in constant AC mode. The control of the active power output is implemented by varying the d-axis current id with an inner current control loop. By pulse width modulation control, the amplitude of the output AC voltage with DC voltage is determined by the modulation index M (value of 0 to 1) which determines the amplitude of output AC voltage by varying the "width" of the IGBT switching time: =

Where kp2 and ki2 are the proportional and integral gains in the DC voltage controller (regulator). Combining equations (14) and (15), the reference current as a function of the control current of equations (9), (10), (11), and (12) is calculated as follows: = 3 ( + 4 )



Therefore, the DC voltage is directly controlled by the d-axis current controller. 2) Wind farm side control The wind farm side control of a HVDC rectifier has been studied in [19]. The function of a wind farm side rectifier as a DC regulator is not considered, as in a multi-terminal HVDC application, may individual wind-farms are relatively small power sources and would not be capable of performing regulation of the DC voltage.

Substitute the modulation index M in equation (6) with equation (7), the relationship between AC and DC quantities are given:

1 + 2


Where Md and Mq are defined as the d- and q-axis modulation indices. The current control loop evaluates equation (8) by following the equation (9) and (10), which is effectively a of proportional and integral (PI) controller:

= =

= 1 + 1 ( ) = 1 + 1 ( )

(9) (10)

Figure 8. Equivalent schematic diagram of wind farm side rectifier

Where kp1 and kp2 are referred to as the proportional and integral gains of the current controller, and icd and icq are variables of the current controller output. Therefore, the control variables Md and Mq are derived by equations (8), (9)

The equivalent schematic diagram of the wind farm side rectifier in the dq reference frame in Figure 8 is used to design voltage and current controllers. The relation of voltage and current at the sides of reference point X is given as: = (17) = =


5 Transferring these equations into the dq reference frame:

1 + 2


By the similar principle employed by the grid side current controller, the wind farm current controller is designed as: = =

= 1

+ 1 ( + 1 (

) (20) ) (21)
Figure 10. Active power limits and DC reference voltage characteristic of one terminal

= 1

Where kp1 and kp2 are the proportional and integral gains of the current controller, and icd and icq are variables of the current controller output. Thus, the d- and q-axis modulation indices Md and Mq for the PWM are derived from by equation (19) and equations (20) and (21): 2 1 = ( + ) (22) =

( + )


As doubly-fed-induction-generation (DIFG) based wind farms are able to control the amplitude and frequency of the AC voltage, the PLL module is not required [19]. The wind farm side rectifiers should be coordinated with the DFIG control of the wind farm. B. Master control As MTDC systems typically span significant distances, using communications-based control systems may be expensive and possibly prone to concerns over reliability. Master control, as presented in Figure 9, is a control scheme that can be included in individual terminal controllers and consists of a small set of terminal control functions (e.g. startup, close and power flow reversal) and does not require communication. The voltage margin method for overall control [15], enables DC voltage regulation to be carried out by one terminal and with other terminals only carrying out power flow corrdination.

Based on the voltage margin method, each converter will maintain the DC voltage (Uref1 in Figure 10) as long as transmitted power remains within its upper and lower limits are not reached. It ensures that the system load is supplied by the appropriate wind/AC grid balance and that changes in wind power output will not impact on AC grid-side voltage. Other converters which operate at upper or lower limits (operate at full power output or input) will act as constant active power terminals. For example, consider a MTDC consisting of an offshore wind farm, the AC grid and the onshore load, as shown in Figure 11:

Figure 11. Voltage margin method for the wind farm, the grid and the local load terminals of a MTDC

Figure 9. Control system of MTDC

In a MTDC system, when there is a disturbance or short circuit on either the AC or DC sides, the energy stored in the DC link capacitors may be released and this may result in DC voltage fluctuations and current surges. In order to avoid over-voltage and under-voltage and to ensure stable operation, the voltage margin method, which implements power interchange among all terminals, is included in both the active power control block and the DC voltage control block of the outer controller.

The specific characteristics of the voltage margin method for the MTDC master control for the system shown is preset as shown in Figure 11 would be defined prior to installation. Two cases of operation are now briefly described. Case 1 refers to the upper dotted line in Figure 11 (DC voltage relatively higher), while Case 2 refers to the lower dotted line on Figure 11 (DC voltage relatively lower). Load power is equal in both cases. 1) Case 1 At the time when the available wind strength is relatively weak, the power output of the MTDC rectifier for the wind farm is Pw1, which is below the specified upper power flow limit. Thus this terminal will determine the magnitude of the system DC voltage using its DC reference voltage and act as a DC reference bus. For the grid side terminal, the upper power flow limit is reached. Therefore, the grid terminal operates as a rectifier that inputs the power PG1 up to upper limit into the

6 MTDC. The load consumes constant power PL1 and the DC reference voltage also follows DC voltage magnitude at the operating point. The power balance rule (i.e. sum total of power generated into the DC grid to the loads/AC grid) is obeyed. 2) Case 2 Consider a time when the wind farm is able to operate at maximum power output. Based on the characteristic, the upper power flow limit of the terminal for the wind farm is reached by PW2 so that this terminal can no longer regulate the DC voltage and this function will be shifted to another terminal. The grid side terminal extracts PG2 which is between the upper and lower limits and its value satisfies the power balance equation (24). Thus the grid side terminal, which is now acting as an inverter (i.e. exporting power from the DC grid to the AC grid), determines the DC voltage that the other two terminals must follow. For the load terminal, the power drawn from the DC grid is maintained constant.
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[4] [5]





[10] [11]

IV. CONCLUSION In this paper, the advantages of VSC HVDC has been discussed and compared to conventional HVAC and LCC HVDC. The basic concept of VSC with PWM has been introduced. Based on the fast and flexible control capabilities of VSC HVDC, the multi-terminal HVDC (MTDC) becomes a realistic possibility. Three proposals for MTDC systems applied to wind power transmission, for gas/oil platform supplies and for urban power distribution have been highlighted. Prospective MTDC control systems were also reviewed. This includes classical HVDC terminal control (local control), the operation of which has been described through a description of the logic and equations used in the VSC controllers. AC voltage, DC voltage, active (current) and reactive power control modes can be implemented with these equations. The concept of master control, which is based on the voltage margin method, was also described and this can play a key role in the coordination of the electric power flows within the MTDC system and external to the system by making one (master) terminal responsible for DC voltage regulation and the other terminals responsible only for providing active power. MTDC will undoubtedly provide useful solutions in many fields in the future and the control schemes will be continuously optimised and developed. The Future research may consider analysing the performance, operation, protection and control of such systems, using detailed models and case study simulations.










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