New Methods To Protect Wind Generators During Voltage Dips Developed

To provide a solution to the problems caused to wind turbines by sudden dips in voltage in a part of the electric grid. This was the objective of industrial engineer and member of INGEPER Research Team at the Public University of Navarre, Jesús López Taberna. The fruit of his research is a rotor model which enables anticipating how the wind power unit will behave in these situations. Mr López has patented two techniques of protection, one of which has already been transferred to a manufacturer who will exploit it at international level. This system allows the generator turbine to remain in operation during these voltage dips and thus prevent the wind energy converter from ceasing to function.

The title of the PhD is: “The behaviour of wind-powered generators with double-fed asynchronous motor during voltage dips”.

Over the past few years, the growth and development of wind energy converters has been slowed by problems that have arisen from the increase in the number of these connected to the electric grid. One of the most important problems is precisely the manner in which the wind generators behave during these voltage dips.

A voltage dip is a sudden reduction in potential in the electric grid, followed by a rapid return to its normal value. This, at times, can be caused by lightening or a tree falling on power cables but also due to a large company consuming a lot of energy in one go. This drop in voltage happens in a matter of milliseconds; “we are aware of it because the lights begin to flicker or because they go off and on momentarily – but, for a machine, this can be an eternity”, explained Mr López. In fact, an interruption of half a second in a productive process can cause the whole process to block and it may have to be reinitiated.

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