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Integration of Large Amounts of Wind Energy while Maintaining Utility Grid Reliability

Wind energy is recognized worldwide as cost-effective and environmentally friendly and is among the world's fastest-growing sources of electrical energy. Despite the amazing growth in global wind power installations in recent years, science and engineering challenges still exist. For instance, since electrical power supply and demand must match on the grid, wind's variability creates challenges to integrating large amounts of wind energy on the utility grid. Recently, systems and control techniques have begun to demonstrate that it is possible to actively control the power generated by wind turbines and wind farms to help stabilize the grid frequency. In this talk, we will first provide an overview of wind energy systems by introducing the primary structural components and operating regions of wind turbines. The operation of the utility grid will be briefly reviewed by discussing the electrical system, explaining the importance of preserving grid reliability through controlling the grid frequency (which is a measure of the balance between electrical generation and load), and describing the traditional methods of providing ancillary services for frequency support using conventional generation utilities. We will then outline how wind turbines and wind farms can be controlled to help stabilize and balance the frequency of the utility grid. Results of simulation studies as well as experimental field tests will be presented to show the promise of the techniques being developed. We shall close by discussing continuing challenges and future research avenues that can facilitate the widespread adoption of active power control services provided by wind farms, and how advanced distributed capabilities can reduce the integration cost of wind energy and enable much higher wind energy penetrations while simultaneously maintaining and possibly increasing the reliability of the utility grid.

Type of Seminar:
Control Seminar Series
Prof. Lucy Pao
University of Colorado Boulder
Mar 23, 2016   5.15pm

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Biographical Sketch:
Lucy Pao is currently a Professor in the Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering Department and a Professor (by courtesy) in the Aerospace Engineering Sciences Department at the University of Colorado Boulder. She earned B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. Her research has primarily been in the control systems area, with applications ranging from atomic force microscopy to disk drives to digital tape drives to megawatt wind turbines and wind farms. Selected recent and current professional society activities include being General Chair for the 2013 American Control Conference, an IEEE Control Systems Society (CSS) Distinguished Lecturer (2008-2014), a member of the IEEE CSS Board of Governors (2011-2013 (elected) and 2015 (appointed)), and a Fellow of the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute (2009-present). Selected recent honors include elevation to IEEE Fellow in 2012, the 2012 IEEE Control Systems Magazine Outstanding Paper Award (with K. Johnson), election to Fellow of the International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC) in 2013, and the 2015 SIAM J. Control and Optimization Best Paper Prize (with J. Marden and H. P. Young).