Increasing the hosting capacity of distributed energy resources using storage and communication

Abstract: This thesis develops methods to increase the amount of renewable energy sources that can be integrated into a power grid. The assessed methods include i) dynamic real-time assessment to enable the grid to be operated closer to its design limits; ii) energy storage and iii) coordinated control of distributed production units. Power grids using such novel techniques are referred to as “Smart Grids”. Under favourable conditions the use of these techniques is an alternative to traditional grid planning like replacement of transformers or construction of a new power line. Distributed Energy Resources like wind and solar power will impact the performance of the grid and this sets a limit to the amount of such renewables that can be integrated. The work develops the hosting capacity concept as an objective metric to quantify the ability of a power grid to integrate new production. Several case studies are presented using actual hourly production and consumption data. It is shown how the different variability of renewables and consumption affect the hosting capacity. The hosting capacity method is extended to the application of storage and curtailment. The goal is to create greater comparability and transparency, thereby improving the factual base of discussions between grid operators, electricity producers and other stakeholders on the amount and type of production that can be connected to a grid.Energy storage allows the consumption and production of electricity to be decoupled. This in turn allows electricity to be produced as the wind blows and the sun shines while consumed when required. Yet storage is expensive and the research defines when storage offers unique benefits not possible to achieve by other means. Focus is on comparison of storage to conventional and novel methods.As the number of distributed energy resources increase, their electronic converters need to provide services that help to keep the grid operating within its design criteria. The use of functionality from IEC Smart Grid standards, mainly IEC 61850, to coordinate the control and operation of these resources is demonstrated in a Research, Development and Demonstration site. The site contains wind, solar power, and battery storage together with the communication and control equipment expected in the future grids.Together storage, new communication schemes and grid control strategies allow for increased amounts of renewables into existing power grids, without unacceptable effects on users and grid performance.