The advancement in offshore wind power technology has led to larger turbines and larger wind farms being deployed throughout Europe. Where previously wind farms had been thought of as single distributed power generators, they must now be considered as integral components of the overall energy supply system, and be subject to the same regulations as other types of power generation.
The European Wind Energy Association estimates that by 2020 between 14.4% and 16.7 % of the EU’s electricity supply will be sourced from wind energy, both on land and offshore. The European Commission’s energy strategy for Europe suggests that up to 12% of this will be supplied by offshore wind farms.
Due to the increase in the size of wind farms, and the requirement of Europe’s TSO’s (Transmission System Operators) to integrate them into the network, grid code compliance rules have been implemented to ensure that offshore wind farms contribute to the system, and behave in the same way as conventional generators. Before connection to the grid, wind turbines and wind farms must certify that they comply with regulations surrounding frequency dependant active power supply (frequency control), Voltage control – both steady state and dynamic, Voltage dependant reactive power injection and absorption, and fault ride through stability.
It is only recently that grid codes have been amended to account for wind energy, and there may be further technical requirements implemented in the future as the face of the European grid network is due to change dramatically over the next fifty years. More coordination is required from the EU, EWEA, TSO’s, and the wind energy industry as a group to create standards and regulations across the board that turbine manufacturers and network operators can use as guidelines. The opportunity exists to develop a blueprint that will allow the planning and initiation of the design of new turbines and wind farms and the installation of network services to go hand in hand.
Article by IQPC,a leading organizer of about 2,000 worldwide conferences, seminars, and related learning programs every year. The company is organizing the Grid Integration of Offshore Wind Energy Conference from 05 – 07 December, 2011 at the Clarion Hotel Copenhagen, Denmark. Free whitepapers, articles and podcasts on grid integration of offshore wind energy are available on the website.