AWEA Spearheads New Wind Initiative

On October 7, 26 technical experts met at AWEA’s invitation to develop a wind industry-sponsored “National Grid Code,” a set of performance specifications that will define “good utility practice” for interconnection and operation of wind turbines in the United States. The initiative was authorized at the September 17 meeting of the AWEA Board of Directors.

Washington D.C. – October 14, 2003 [] According to AWEA Policy Director Jim Caldwell, who organized the new initiative and will be coordinating it, good utility practice for fossil and nuclear-fueled large central generators has developed over the past seventy years as central generation technology and transmission technology evolved together. Wind generation, Caldwell said, is different, with many relatively small induction-based generators fueled by variable natural forces as compared to single large synchronous generators whose fuel input is controlled. Caldwell said recent experience in many parts of the world with wind generation has given engineers confidence that integration of large quantities of wind while maintaining traditional levels of reliability is practical and cost effective, but the engineering practices have yet to be reduced to a commonly understood grid code. According to Caldwell, the process that the industry group will follow is: – Assemble best practices from around the world – Existing and proposed standards from Texas, California, Germany, Spain, Denmark, and Greece have been identified as representing a composite best practice for wind integration. Similar efforts have been started in the U.S. by the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC), in the Midwest, in New York, and elsewhere. – Write a draft “National Grid Code” – The expert group includes turbine manufacturers, component suppliers, wind developers, utility representatives, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). They will compile and adapt these best practices into a single document for submission to the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) and its regional Reliability Councils (nine councils throughout North America). At the meeting, the group decided that the initial document will contain standards for voltage support/reactive compensation, fault ride-through capability, telemetry and control, and output forecasting. – Establish a “users’ group” with transmission operators – The Utility Wind Interest Group has proposed such a users’ group whose function would be to facilitate development of engineering models, provide a formal process for updating them as wind turbine product development evolves, validate them using specially instrumented existing wind farms in various parts of the country, and provide a forum for dissemination of this information throughout the engineering community. A meeting has been scheduled for October 23-24 in Seattle, Wash., to discuss formation and operation of this users’ group. – Reduce this “Good Utility Practice” to formal industry standards – The expert group includes representatives of working groups of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE) and the Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) whose task is to convert this good utility practice into formal industry standards. Working with the Department of Energy and the NREL, the industry will staff these working groups. “The wind industry has reached a state of maturity and a level of growth where it must recognize its own responsibility to establish a code of best engineering practice and communicate this body of knowledge to the utility industry as a whole,” Caldwell said. “Establishing a national grid code will give manufacturers a set of performance standards to design equipment, and provide project developers and transmission operators a common set of standards to ensure safe, cost effective, and reliable installations.” Courtesy of AWEA’s Wind Energy Weekly
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