Gloe, A., Jauch, C., Craciun, B., Zanter, A., & Winkelmann, J. (2021). Influence of Continuous Provision of Synthetic Inertia on the Mechanical Loads of a Wind Turbine. Energies, 14(16), 5185. http://doi.org/10.3390/en14165185
In many electrical grids, the share of renewable energy generation increases. As these generators are typically connected to the grid via inverters, the level of grid inertia decreases. Such grids may therefore suffer from high rates of change of frequency during power imbalances. Modern wind turbines can help in controlling the frequency in such grids by providing synthetic inertia. A controller to provide synthetic inertia with wind turbines was developed at the Wind Energy Technology Institute in collaboration with Suzlon Energy. For this controller the influence of providing synthetic inertia on the mechanical loads of the wind turbine is assessed for different grid frequency scenarios. Such a scenario-based load analysis has not been published before, especially as the scenarios are derived from real measurements. The effect of the loads strongly depends on the analyzed grid frequency behavior. Ten months of high quality grid frequency measurements of the Indian grid are analyzed in order to derive inputs for the load calculation. Different types of grid frequency abnormities are identified and categorized with respect to their severity. Based on the observed occurrences of the grid frequency abnormities, realistic scenarios for the load calculations are chosen. The load calculations are performed for a state-of-the-art Suzlon wind turbine generator. The load increases caused by the supply of synthetic inertia are calculated for individual components assuming an otherwise undisturbed power production of the wind turbine in turbulent wind. Furthermore, a hardware-in-the-loop test bench is used to show how the measured grid frequencies are actually perceived by the control system of a typical wind turbine. The original frequency data were recorded with high quality measurement equipment, which is faster and more accurate than a multi-function relay, often used in wind turbines. For exemplary time traces, the effect of the reduced measurement accuracy on the reaction of the wind turbine is shown. This aspect has not been investigated in the literature yet. The results show that wind turbines can provide synthetic inertia without a considerable effect on the lifetime of the wind turbine. However, there are still problems with providing synthetic inertia reliably at high power operating points, which have to be solved.