Control of voltage source converters connected to variable impedance grids

Rights statement
Awarding institution
  • University of Strathclyde
Date of award
  • 2023
Thesis identifier
  • T16649
Person Identifier (Local)
  • 201771376
Qualification Level
Qualification Name
Department, School or Faculty
  • The increase in new renewable energy resources is key to achieving carbon reduction targets, however it also introduces new grid integration challenges. The best renewable resource in Scotland is found in remote parts of the country, and as a result new renewable based generation is increasingly subjected to high and variable levels of impedance. Impedances that cause resonances are also increasingly common, given the higher order characteristics of impedance when transformers, filters, subsea cables, compensators and so on are present in the network. For a better understanding of impedance related stability issues, the estimation of the grid impedance using both Thévenin equivalent and wide spectrum techniques is studied in this thesis and integrated into the converter’s control. These estimations inform the controller of the grid conditions, allowing for controller adaptation. In instances where weak grid conditions are severe and the local grid impedance is dominant, a disturbance rejection mechanism called the pre-emptive voltage decoupler (PVD) is proposed. The PVD feeds forward the active current reference and measured voltage, and adapts the reactive current reference as a function of the impedance estimation, to pre-emptively compensate the local voltage for changes in active power transfer. This is justified through small signal analysis using linearised state space models and validated in the laboratory using large inductors and a converter. The control is also made more resilient with an instability detector, proposed to prevent instability when significant grid disturbances occur. Through early detection of sudden power angle changes, stability can be maintained. This is achieved by momentarily reducing the power reference and re-establishing grid parameters. The implementation of the proposed changes improves the steady state stability region from -0.75 – 0.55 pu to -0.85 – 0.75 pu. Further, the nonlinear transient performance is much more resilient, and uninterrupted power flow can be maintained. When the local grid is not dominant, and higher order grid impedances cause undesired resonances, a detection of the resonant frequency allows for an adaptation of the outer loop gains, thus damping the resonances and improving stability. Such grids are also prone to instability, but a reduction of the power reference does not improve stability, on the contrary the reduction of the power reference shifts eigenvalues into the right hand plane. A better preventative measure is to reduce the outer loop gains, and once the frequency of the problematic resonances is identified, final decisions on outer loop tuning can be taken. With this implementation, the stability of the system is maintained and the power output can be recovered within about 1 second.
Advisor / supervisor
  • Egea-Àlvarez, Agustí
  • Ahmed, Khaled
Resource Type