Power Electronic Grid Interface simplifies the transition to a more modern grid - pv magazine USA

Power Electronic Grid Interface simplifies the transition to a more modern grid – pv magazine USA

The PEGI platform, under development at NREL, promises to control and deploy upcoming power electronic devices on the grid of the future, subjecting new concepts and technologies to the rigors of real-world operations.

The power grid in the US is in need of a major upgrade as we move to renewable and distributed energy. Not only is the infrastructure outdated, but with the inbound smart power electronics controlling the incoming solar and wind energy into the grid, as well as the energy storage systems, a shift of grid technology from electromechanical is needed. a digital and programmable. At the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), researchers developed the Power Electronic Grid Interface (PEGI) platform that will help control and implement upcoming power electronic devices for energy systems.

PEGI is part of NREL’s Advanced Integrated Energy Systems Research (ARIES) platform, a research site to demonstrate advanced energy systems concepts. ARIES allows PEGI to explore the different impacts on the power electronics network, including everything from consumer electronics such as modern refrigerators and electric vehicles, to inverter-based resources such as wind, solar photovoltaic and battery systems. , and the next generation of networking technologies that are revolutionizing medium and low voltage power systems.

As part of its research efforts, NREL hosts 20 MW of wind, solar, hydrogen, vehicles, storage and other resources, all of which can be used to emulate a wide range of electrical system events and configurations.

“This is a critical time for industry and network planners to understand the technologies that shape their systems and find solutions to their specific needs. PEGI is above all a resource for partners to experiment in a realistic and risk-free environment, ”said Barry Mather, head of research on integrated devices and systems at NREL.

PEGI is capable of modeling megawatt-scale grid scenarios and focuses on addressing grid stability issues such as controlling the inverter that forms the grid, operating the grid with high amounts of inverter-based resources and interconnection. of wind and solar plants.

Inventing grid scenarios

On NREL campuses, power comes from local utility and first passes through a controllable network interface, allowing researchers to customize power conditions. At this interface, researchers can invent network scenarios such as a failure, blackout or 100% renewable energy system. Downstream of the network interface, the PEGI equipment then evaluates the responses and interactions of the power electronic devices under test.

PEGI provides users with a way to perform device operations for any power technology in any scenario, reports NREL. Overall, it offers a realistic environment that can eliminate the risk of future technologies.

PEGI offers answers to the upcoming question: How to best integrate inverter-based generation for different systems? It does this by allowing researchers to adjust the share of traditional or renewable resources and experience their impacts at a power level relevant to industry.

“If they aren’t already, many operators will soon face questions about how to maintain system stability, as renewable energy mandates lead to larger shares of inverter-based resources. But realistically, there is no single answer other than the fact that every system is different. The special role of PEGI is to show in a very precise way how a system would work in future scenarios and future mixes of renewable and conventional resources ”. Mather said.

Power electronics are a fundamentally different type of generation than the electromechanical machines of the past. One advantage of such power electronics is that engineers can program and access a wide variety of controls, which are now being studied for inverter-based resources in a global consortium.

PEGI in action

The UNIFI consortium (Universal Interoperability for Grid Forming Inverters), co-led by NREL, is addressing this topic by uniting more than 40 organizations across industry, academia, utilities and government to share knowledge and eliminate risk from the border controls in support of net. PEGI plays a leading role in this endeavor, enabling collaborators to develop and demonstrate inverter controls in many operating environments. Among other projects, the UNIFI Consortium will use PEGI to validate the specifications that guarantee the interoperability requirements for grid-forming inverters from various manufacturers.

As an example of PEGI in action, NREL has led the way and demonstrated grid formation controls in several applications. One will support the island of Maui, where the instant renewables share is tilting towards 100%. NREL has created a tool, the Multi-Timescale Integrated Dynamic and Scheduling Model (MIDAS), to help operators manage the scheduling and stability of renewable resources. After validating the basic aspects of the tool, researchers will use PEGI to implement it on a scale system with support from the DOE Solar Energy Technologies Office, as part of the SAPPHIRE project. PEGI will represent Maui’s 300 MW of renewable resources that it will soon surpass, in combination with other generations, to demonstrate that MIDAS can inform operations when renewables make up a larger share of the generation mix.

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