New Advance for Wind Turbine Grid Interconnection

GE Wind Energy has developed a new electronic capability which they consider revolutionary for connecting wind turbines to the electrical grid. The system will allow its wind turbines to stay connected to the grid during low voltage events caused by system disturbances. The first units featuring this low voltage ride-through (LVRT) capability are now ready for shipment.

Austin, Texas – May 29, 2003 [] In the past, most utilities requested that wind farms trip or drop out in the event of faults in the high-voltage grid. Local and remote faults on the grid produce voltage dips that cause wind turbines—normally programmed to drop out at 70 percent voltage—to trip. Today, wind farms represent a growing source of generating capacity. While some utilities still prefer the traditional dropout of wind farms during system faults, many utilities now request that wind farms ride through grid disturbances, remaining on-line and continuing to support the system. GE Wind Energy has developed a new product extension for its wind turbines that delivers ride-through capability at or below 15 percent grid voltage for up to 500 milliseconds. GE upgraded the wind turbine’s main control cabinet, low voltage distribution panel, pitch system, UPS and power converter to ensure compliance with the low voltage ride-through requirements. “Adding LVRT capability for our wind turbine product line is the latest in a continuing series of technology advancements that are helping to make wind power increasingly competitive in today’s energy environment,” said Steve Zwolinski, president of GE Wind Energy, a unit of GE Power Systems. “Today’s wind turbines are larger and more reliable than ever before, and are capable of operating in a broad range of conditions at sites around the world.” GE’s 1.5 MW wind turbines currently being assembled in the U.S. are the first GE Wind Energy machines to include new LVRT electronics. The first LVRT-equipped turbines are slated to be shipped later this month for installation in New Mexico. More than 1,300 1.5 MW units are in operation in Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Ireland, Belgium, Japan, Sweden and the U.S. GE Wind Energy designs and manufactures wind turbines with rated outputs of between 900 and 3,600 kW, and offers support services ranging from project development assistance to operation and maintenance. Worldwide, the company has developed and/or sold over 5,600 wind turbines with a rated capacity exceeding 3,200 MW. GE Wind Energy employs more than 1,700 people worldwide with manufacturing facilities in Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and the U.S.
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