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Emerging Power Quality Challenges Due to

Integration of Renewable Energy Sources
Xiaodong Liang, Senior Member, IEEE

AbstractRenewable energy becomes a key contributor to our tent. Therefore, adapting power grids to operate reliably with
modern society, but their integration to power grid poses signif-
renewable energy sources can be very complicated. How to
icant technical challenges. Power quality is an important aspect
of renewable energy integration. The major power quality con- increase flexibility and reliability, improve energy efficiency,
cerns are: 1) Voltage and frequency fluctuations, which are and power quality for tomorrows smart grid are important
caused by noncontrollable variability of renewable energy considering the potential huge investment over next decades
resources. The intermittent nature of renewable energy resources on maintaining and expanding power grid to accommodate
due to ever- changing weather conditions leads to voltage and renewable energy generation.
frequency fluc- tuations at the interconnected power grid. 2)
It was recognized that grid-connected renewable power
Harmonics, which are introduced by power electronic devices
utilized in renewable energy generation. When penetration level generation would introduce power quality issues to power
of renewable energy is high, the influence of harmonics could be grid. From renewable energy side, renewable generation is
significant. In this pa- per, an extensive literature review is nondis- patchable and intermittent with high fluctuations due
conducted on emerging power quality challenges due to to varying nature of renewable energy resources. As
renewable energy integration. This paper consists of two sections: penetration level of renewable generation increases over
1) Power quality problem definition. Wind turbines and solar
photovoltaic systems and their power quality issues are time, such high fluctua- tions create serious power quality
summarized. 2) Existing approaches to improve power quality. concerns. From power grid side, the grid-side disturbances,
Various methods are reviewed, and the control-technology- based such as voltage sags caused by short-circuit faults and
power quality improvement is the major focus of this paper. The frequency variations due to load and gen- eration change
future research directions for emerging power quality chal- would interact with the interconnected renewable energy
lenges for renewable energy integration are recommended.
sources, which create more complicated and uncertain
Index TermsElectric energy storage, frequency control, har- operating conditions. Power quality, among many other
monics mitigation, power quality, renewable energy integration,
voltage control. factors, appears to be one of the most important aspects that
could affect the overall stability and reliability of tomorrows
I. INTRODUCTION power grid [3]. Many research results about different power
quality chal- lenges and solutions due to renewable energy
R ENEWABLE energy such as wind turbines and solar
pho- tovoltaic (PV) systems use natural resources and provide
desirable green energy. The penetration of renewable energy is
integration have been reported. As smart grid attracts more
attention from academia and industry, there is an urgent
need to summa- rize existing approaches and technologies
increasing worldwide. It was reported in 2014 that wind, solar,
in order to better guide future research and engineering
and biomass power plants provided 60% electricity generation
effort in this important area. This paper aims to offer an
in Denmark; about 30% of electricity demand in Portugal was
extensive literature review on emerging power quality
supplied by nonhydropower renewable; Spain had 29% renew-
challenges due to integration of re- newable energy sources
able energy generation. The advancement in renewable energy
into power grid. This paper focuses on the control-technology-
is exciting but also creates significant technical challenges to
based power quality improvement in- cluding the virtual
power industry [1], [2].
synchronous machine (VSM) method (also known as virtual
Our traditional power-generation system is designed with
synchronous generator method) and the virtual- impedance-
large centrally controlled power plants. Renewable energy,
control method. The future research directions are also
however, is distributed, independently controlled, and
recommended in this paper, which highlight major areas
with significant research potential.
This paper is arranged as follows: In Section II, power qual-
Manuscript received July 2, 2016; revised October 10, 2016 and October 12, ity issues related to integration of wind power and solar PV
2016; accepted October 12, 2016. Date of publication November 8, 2016; date
of current version March 17, 2017. Paper 2016-PSEC-0698.R2, presented at generation are reviewed. The current start-of-art techniques for
the 2016 IEEE Industry Applications Society Annual Meeting, Portland, OR, improving power quality using the control-technology-based
USA, Nov. 1316, and approved for publication in the IEEE TRANSACTIONS ap- proaches are summarized in Sections III and IV, principles
ON INDUSTRY APPLICATIONS by the Power System Engineering Committee of
the IEEE Industry Applications Society.
and applications for the VSM method for voltage and
The author is with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineer- frequency con- trol, and for the virtual-impedance-control
ing, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St Johns, NL A1B 3X9, Canada method for harmonic compensation are demonstrated in these
Color versions of one or more of the figures in this paper are available
sections. In Section V, the electric energy storage is
online at particularly reviewed; their role in power quality enhancement
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TIA.2016.2626253 is discussed. Conclusions are drawn and future research
directions are recommended in Section VI.
0093-9994 2016 IEEE. Personal use is permitted, but republication/redistribution requires IEEE permission.
See standards/publications/rights/index.html for more information.

Usually a wind power plant can have two types of presenta-

tions in power system modeling: 1) single turbine
2) multiturbine presentation [4], [6]. The single turbine presen-
tation is considered sufficient for power system planning
studies by Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC)
[6]. How- ever, further studies in [4] indicate that a large wind
power plant should be modeled by multiple wind turbines,
which represent the unique characteristics of the location,
turbine types, control setting, and line impedances. In a
multiturbine presentation, a wind power plant is divided into
several groups of wind turbines, and the wind speed is
considered uniform for each group. There are smoothing
effects for power and voltage fluctuation when multiturbine
presentation is used, which more closely represents a real wind
power plant [4]. The wind power plant representation remains
to be an active research area [6].
Regarding reactive power compensation, because Type-1
and Type-2 wind turbine generators are induction generators,
capaci- tors are added at the generator terminals to correct
power factor. Several capacitor stages can be used to maintain
steady-state power factor close to unity over the output range
of generators. However, these generators do not have the
ability to control reactive power dynamically; static
synchronous compensators (STATCOMS) or static var
compensators (SVCs) are usually needed to achieve reactive
power compensation in the collec- tor system lines,
transformers, and the point of interconnection (POI). Type-3
and Type-4 wind turbine generators can either absorb or
generate reactive power, so each generator follows a power
factor reference that can be adjusted by a plant-level
supervisory controller dynamically in order to achieve voltage
Fig. 1. Wind power plant: (a) general configuration [5]; and (b) more
control or reactive power control at the POI. Faster-acting con-
detailed typical topology [6]. trols local to the generator can override the power factor refer-
ence to avoid exceeding converter current and terminal voltage
limits. Depending on individual wind power plant design,
addi- tional reactive power support equipment may be added
to meet connection reactive power control and voltage ride-
through re- quirements especially for weak interconnections
A. Wind Power [6].
Wind power is produced by wind power plants. In the B. Solar PV
begin- ning of wind energy development, the size of a wind Power
power plant was small ranging from under one megawatt to
tens megawatts. In the past 40 years, its size has increased Grid-connected solar PV power can be generated by either
significantly [4]. solar PV power plants or residential or commercial PV sys-
Wind power plants around the world had an estimated in- tems. Solar PV power plants are large-generation facilities,
stalled capacity of 159 GW and produced 273 TWh of electric- and some of them exceeding 100 MW. These large-power
ity in 2009. This number includes both onshore and offshore plants are connected to transmission systems. However, most
wind. The integration challenges presented may differ between PV sys- tems are residential (up to several kilowatts) and
onshore and offshore wind power, specifically for special commer- cial scale (up to several megawatts) connected to
trans- mission technologies for offshore plants. The offshore distribution networks [7].
segment mostly located in Europe. Europes offshore wind Solar PV systems had 22 GW of global capacity and
capacity was generated
4 GW at the end of 2011 [5]. 20 TWh of electricity in 2009 [5]. It is stated in [5] that though
The general configuration of a wind power plant is shown in solar PV generation capacity is much smaller than wind power
Fig. 1(a) [5]; a more detailed topology of a wind power plant capacity, it is expected to grow at a faster pace than wind over
is shown in Fig. 1(b) [6]. Comparing with the conventional the next several decades. By 2013, 138.9 GW of PV had been
power plants, the wind power plants have significantly installed globally, and the growth between 2009 and 2013 was
different features, which are summarized in Table I [6]. significant [8].
The general configuration of a solar PV power plant is
shown in Fig. 2(a) [5], and a more detailed topology of a solar
PV power plant is shown in Fig. 2(b) [7]. The topology for a
residential solar PV system is shown in Fig. 3 [9].


Conventional Power Plant Wind Power Plant

Topology One or a few large generating units, each unit could be rated at 40 to Typically hundreds of small generators deployed over a large area,
1000 MW+ each unit could be rated at 1 to 5 MW
Prime mover Steam, gas, hydroturbines, or combustion engines Wind turbines
Dispatch Dispatchable, maneuverable between maximum and minimum limits Nondispatchable, limited maneuverability (curtailment, ramp rate limit,
output limit)
Real power Units have speed governors and are typically capable of automatic Real power follows the wind speed variation
control generation control (AGC)
Reactive power Units are equipped with an automatic voltage regulator, typically set Reactive power is managed at the plant level, through coordinated
control for voltage control control of wind turbine control and/or plant-level reactive
Location Located where convenient for fuel and transmission access Located where the wind resource is good, may be far from load centers
or strong transmission
Generator Synchronous generators Type 1Fixed-speed, induction generator;
Type 2Variable slip, induction generators with variable
rotor resistance;
Type 3Variable speed, doubly-fed asynchronous generators
with rotor-side converter;
Type 4Variable speed generators with full converter interface, a
generator can be induction, synchronous, or permanent magnet

Similar to wind power plants, WECC recommends a single- eration both experience intermittency due to a combination of
generator equivalent model for PV power plants connected to noncontrollable variability and partial unpredictability features
transmission systems, which is considered to be adequate for
bulk-level power flow and dynamic simulations. For large
num- ber of PV systems connected to distribution systems, the
ag- gregated PV generation can be represented by an
equivalent generator at a transmission bus, preferably behind
an equiva- lent substation transformer and medium-voltage
feeder [7]. The solar PV power plant representation remains to
be an active research area [7].
As shown in Fig. 2(b), large PV power plants typically have
medium-voltage radial feeders, and PV inverters are connected
to these feeders via step-up transformers with several inverters
sharing one step-up transformer. Capacitors or other reactive
support might be present in PV power plants, and they work in
conjunction with the inverters to meet reactive power
capability and control requirements at the POI. Inverters have
low short- circuit current contribution, high-bandwidth
controls, and lack of mechanical inertia; therefore, PV power
plants do not have inherent inertial or frequency response
capabilities [7].

C. Power Quality
Power quality issues for renewable energy integration re-
fer to: 1) voltage and frequency fluctuations, which are caused
by noncontrollable variability of renewable energy resources
and also by power grid-side disturbances, and 2) harmonics,
which are introduced by power electronic converters used in
renewable energy generation. As defined by the IEEE
929-2000, voltage, voltage flicker, frequency, and distortion
are four major parameters used to evaluate the power
quality in PV systems. Deviation from standard values for
these parame- ters represents out-of-bounds conditions. The
inverter may be required to ceases energizing utility lines in
this case [10], [11].
1) Renewable Energy Side: Wind and solar PV power gen-
wind and solar resources. A wind turbine needs wind to
generate electricity, and a solar PV system requires sunlight
to operate. When wind speeds and available sunlight vary, the
output of wind and solar power generation varies accordingly.
The noncontrollable variability could result in voltage and fre-
quency fluctuations on the transmission system. Such power
output fluctuation requires additional energy to balance supply
and demand of the power grid on an instantaneous basis and
requires frequency regulation and voltage support [5].
The availability of wind and sunlight is partially unpre-
dictable. However, such unpredictability can be improved
through improved weather and generation forecasting tech-
nologies, which aim to predict weather and generation output
from wind and solar resources more accurately at various
timescales [5].
At a low penetration level, the power quality issue is at de-
vice and local grid level, and the solution is usually device
spe- cific. At a high penetration level, the grid-level
technologies and strategies are needed [3], [5]. It is vital to
develop appropriate control architecture and technologies so
that renewable energy is able to take part in the regulation of
future power systems in an autonomous and responsible way.
2) Power Grid Side: Another power quality issue that
affects renewable energy integration is due to power grid-side
distur- bances. The power grid-code requirements for grid-
connected renewable power plants have experienced a
continuous evolu- tion in different countries to ensure a
reliable power system operation. According to several
European grid codes, PV power plants must be able to ride
through specific disturbances without disconnections [11]. In
2014, thre IEEE Standard 1547a released a new definition for
the voltage sag trip settings that would al- low the equipment
to ride through during voltage sag. This new definition allows
a distributed generation (DG) not to trip if the duration of
voltage sags is between default settings and maxi- mum
settings, and an agreement is met between the distributed
resource owner and the local utility. The recommended
settings from the IEEE Standard 1547a are shown in Table II

Fig. 2. Solar PV power plant: (a) general configuration [5]; and (b) typical topology with control systems [7].

A power quality survey for three Spanish PV power plants Table III [11]. It is found that 59% of the total recorded
was carried out from 2008 to 2011 [11]. One PV power plant voltage sags resulted in 0.80.9-p.u. residual voltages; another
had dual-axis trackers with 1-MW capacity, two fixed array 20% led to 0.70.8-p.u. residual voltage; while the rest more
PV power plants had 4-MW and 5-MW capacities. Voltage severe volt- age sags were distributed at various small
sags were monitored using a commercial power quality ana- percentages forming the total case.
lyzer, and collected at the 20-kV high-voltage side of the POI The control system for the PV inverter and energy storage
of the three PV power plants. The field measurements took system can be designed to improve voltage level during
place from July 2008 to December 2011. Only PV power voltage sags due to power grid-side disturbances, and, thus,
plants and their ancillary loads are connected to the POI improve PV power plants ride through capability. This can be
during field measurements. The recorded 137 voltage sags one of promis- ing future research directions for renewable
are shown in energy integration.

statistical features are classified by the use of three machine-

learning techniques: modular probabilistic neural network,
sup- port vector machines (SVMs), and least square SVMs
The solar PV systems connected to the utility power grid do
not regulate voltage, but inject current into the power grid. The
voltage operating range for PV inverters is chosen for power
system protection that responds to abnormal utility conditions,
not for voltage regulation. When the current injection from PV
systems into the power grid has large quantity, they could im-
Fig. 3. Typical topology for a residential solar PV system [8].
pact utility voltage: 1) if the PV current injection on a utility
line remains less than the load on that line, the utilitys voltage
TABLE II regulation devices will continue to operate normally; 2) if the
ABNORMAL VOLTAGES [12] PV current injection exceeds the load, the corrective action is
required, because voltage regulation devices do not normally
have directional current sensing capability. The appropriate
Default Setting Maximum Settings Clearing Time:
Adjustable up to and including (s) op- erating interconnection voltage range for solar PV system
can be set between 88% and 110% of the nominal voltage if
Voltage range (% of Clearing Time operating voltage settings are specified by the IEEE Standard
base voltage) (s)
929-2000 [10].
V < 45 0.16 0.16 For a wind power plant power system, the IEC Standard
45 V < 60 1 11 61400-21 recommends that the 10-min average of voltage
60 V < 88 2 21 fluc- tuation should be within 5% of its nominal value [15].
110 < V < 120 1 13 1) Conventional Methods: The reactive power compensa-
V 120 0.16 0.16
tion is one effective method for voltage control. Based on ad-
vanced power electronic technologies and innovative designs,
the flexible alternating current transmission system equipment
RECORDED VOLTAGE SAGS FOR THREE PV POWER PLANTS [11] can be applied to improve the capacity, stability, and flexibil-
ity of ac transmission, making it more capable of transmitting
Residual voltage, p.u. Duration, ms
large-capacity renewable generation. Thyristor-controlled
0100 100200 200400 400600 > 600 Total series
compensators can be installed in transmission lines to reduce
electrical distance, increase damping, and mitigate system os-
0.80.9 36 29 5 4 7 81
0.70.8 4 6 6 2 10 28 cillation; a SVC, a STATCOM, or a controllable shunt reactor
0.60.7 2 2 0 0 3 7 can be shunt installed on substation buses to solve the reactive
0.50.6 0 1 6 1 1 9 power compensation and voltage control problems in
0.40.5 0 1 0 0 3 4
0.30.4 0 0 3 0 0 3
0.20.3 0 0 0 0 1 1 energy integration
2) VSM Method:[4], [5], [16], [17].
Conventional generation power plants can
0.10.2 0 0 0 0 1 1
< 0.1 0 0 0 0 1 1
maintain and regulate voltage and frequency during
total 42 39 20 7 29 137 disturbances because a synchronous generator stores large
amount of kinetic
energy due to inertia and this kinetic energy can be released or
absorbed to compensate imbalance in electrical and mechan-
III. VOLTAGE AND FREQUENCY FLUCTUATIONS are used in the classification step. The power quality
disturbances based on
In a power system, voltage variation is related to reactive
power flow, while frequency variation is determined by the
rate of change in real power flow [4], [13]. The smooth-
ing of voltage and frequency fluctuations can, thus, be
achieved through the control of reactive power and real power,

A. Voltage Control
Ray et al. [14] present the classification of power quality
disturbances caused by change in load and environmental
char- acteristics (such as change in solar insolation and wind
speed). Various forms of voltage sag and swell occurrences
caused by such changes are considered in this study. Ten
different sta- tistical features extracted through S-transform
ical power of the generator [18]. In a power grid, large rota-
tional masses of synchronous generators can provide
significant amount of inertia. When a frequency variation
occurs in the system, the inertial reserve of the power system
counteracts the initial frequency deviation before the
primary reserve brings the frequency back to a steady-state
value [19], [20]. Power electronic inverters as interface
between renewable energy and utility power grid are static
without any rotational energy, which leads to negligible
inertia. Therefore, extensive usage of these devices can
reduce the equivalent rotational inertia of power grid. Low
moment of inertia of power grid degrades frequency stability
because frequency is inversely proportional to the sys- tems
inertia, in this case, large frequency oscillations could occur
during severe disturbances [18], [21], [22].
To solve this problem and enhance the power system sta-
bility, the VSM method was proposed in order to reduce volt-
age and frequency fluctuations and achieve renewable

Fig. 5. Inertia emulation by VSM: (a) Block diagram for a VSM

implementationVirtual inertia attained by a short-term energy storage [26],
[27]. (b) Virtual inertia attained by a swing equation of synchronous machines

Fig. 4. VSM method: (a) Fundamental concept [23]. (b) Active power and per unit power balance in the Laplace domain. A block
reactive power flow due to variations on local induced renewable generation diagram illustrating the swing equation used for implementing
side (left) and voltage and frequency variation on the grid side (right) [23].
the VSM, together with its interface to the rest of the converter
control sys- tem and to the electric power system is shown in
integration. This method was first introduced by Beck and Fig. 5(b) [28]. Behaving the same as a synchronous generator,
Hesse in 2007 as a new power electronics based approach. It the VSM can handle active power and reactive power flow in
models grid-connected power-electronic-based renewable en- both directions, as shown in Fig. 4(b), it is caused either by
ergy generators as an electromechanical synchronous machine. variations from renewable generation side or by demands/
The fundamental concept of the VSM, real power, and reactive disturbances from
power flow between the renewable energy source and power grid side [23].
grid through VSM is shown in Fig. 4 [23]. Chen et al. [25] show the VSM control enhances power
During the last decade, significant developments have been qual- ity and grid stability for DG, which embodies a
made to operate power electronic converters as VSMs, which hysteresis con- trolled three-phase inverter with a synchronous
offers a promising way for all distributed energy resources to machine model. The VSM-based control is able to regulate
follow the same mechanism of conventional synchronous ma- active and reactive power separately and bidirectionally by
chines. The principle of a VSM is based on combining advan- setting virtual torque and virtual excitation to meet the power
tages of todays dynamic power electronic inverter technology system requirements. Furthermore, a virtual rotating mass is
with those of static and dynamic operating properties of syn- implemented in the VSM control in order to increase the
chronous machines. The goal is to control the grid-interface inertia in the grid and improve the transient frequency
converter of a distributed generator or an energy storage in stability similar to a conventional syn- chronous generator.
such a way that it acts like a real synchronous machine [24], The virtual damping of the VSM control can reduce the
[25]. The properties of synchronous machines are kept in this frequency and power oscillation in the grid [25]. The
new modeling approach, including the interaction between combination of the reactive power compensation and the VSM
grid and generator, such as a remote power dispatch, reaction control is also investigated by researchers. A VSM-based
to tran- sients, and a rotating mass [23]. STATCOM controller operating as a synchronous condenser is
The energy storage is connected to the renewable generation proposed in [24]. Virtual impedance and virtual inertia are im-
side of the VSM in Fig. 4(a). The combination of renewable plemented in the proposed controller to make the STATCOM
energy and energy storage can change voltage, and, thus, can operate as a variable synchronous condenser. With virtual in-
serve as the stator output of the VSM [23]. ertia, the STATCOM will naturally synchronize with the grid
The rotational virtual inertia is a critical aspect of the VSM. accurately if there is any change in the frequency without the
It is recommended that the virtual inertia can be attained by risk of losing synchronization. Virtual impedance can limit the
adding a short-term energy storage to any DG unit together harmonics produced by the converter itself and from the
with an intelligent control interface to the grid [26], [27]. The system, where additionally negative-sequence impedance can
cor- responding block diagram for a VSM implementation is be added to enhance the response in case of unbalanced phase
shown in Fig. 5(a). The emulation of the mechanical inertia voltages exists in the system such as during asymmetrical
effect can also be approximately represented by the faults. This VSM-based STATCOM controller is less
synchronous machine sensitive to power or voltage fluctuation induced by
renewable energy sources or power grid with a better
synchronization performance;

Fig. 7. Frequency-droop controller for microgrids [28].

Fig. 6. Comparison of PCC voltage regulation performance between a

VSM- based STATCOM controller and a conventional cascaded dq frame
STATCOM controller when power fluctuates by 0.25 p.u. [24].

therefore, it can achieve an improved voltage regulation than

the conventional STATCOM controlled in the dq frame [24].
The comparison between a VSM-based STATCOM Fig. 8. Comparison of various concepts for VSM and droop controllers [28].
controller and a conventional cascaded dq frame STATCOM
controller is provided in [24]. The following features are
demonstrated for a VSM-based STATCOM controller. resulting from the droop controllers is given by the integral of
1) The QV control loop, which is used to regulate the the frequency reference. The equivalence between VSM-based
mag- nitude of the bus voltage at the point-of-common and frequency-droop-based controllers is shown in Fig. 8 [28].
coupling (PCC), has nearly 20 dB higher gain than the Miguel et al. [29] propose a self-tuning VSM method to
dq frame controller in the low-frequency range. This support dynamic frequency control in a diesel-hybrid power
feature en- sures a much better resistance against the system. This method controls the grid-interface converter of
PCC voltage variation [24]. an energy storage system to emulate the inertial response and
2) The VSM-based controller has a much smaller the damping power of a synchronous generator. The self-
frequency range (about two decades) of negative tuning algorithms are developed and used to continuously
impedance than the dq frame controller, it is a favorable search for optimal parameters during the operation of the
feature which indicates a more stable system [24]. VSM control to minimize the amplitude and rate of change
3) When the input power to the wind farm varies by 0.25 of frequency
p.u., the PCC phasephase voltage is much better variations and the power flow through the energy storage [29].
regulated using a VSM-based controller as shown in Fig. Other frequency-control methods without involving the
6 [24]. VSM
are also developed. For example, an application of supercon-
ducting magnetic energy storage (SMES) is utilized in [30] to
B. Frequency
minimize output frequency fluctuations of a wind farm for an
isolated power system. The SMES is a superconducting coil
The VSM method is mostly utilized for frequency control that stores energy in the magnetic field generated by the dc
due to its ability to add virtual inertia to control power- current flowing through it. The SMES system can acquire a
electronic device-based systems. rapid response to the fluctuations of the wind power by
Arco and Suul [28] demonstrate the equivalence between absorb- ing and releasing the energy. Due to this feature plus
VSM-based control and frequency-droop controllers. The high effi- ciency, high power density, and long life time, the
demonstrated equivalence links a single theoretical frame into SMES system becomes a preferable energy storage solution
these two well established concepts, which have been for wind power generation. The applications of SMES for
developed in separate contexts. wind farms include:
Droop-based schemes have become the preferred solution 1) improve stability; 2) regulate the output power and voltage;
for control of voltage-source converters (VSCs), which can en- and 3) minimize the system frequency fluctuations
sure stand-alone operation and load sharing among parallel- [30].
connected VSC units during steady state and transients, simi- The model of SMES unit consists of a delta-star
larly to traditional synchronous machines. The principle of the transformer, an LC filter, a bidirectional voltage-source
frequency-droop controller is demonstrated by a block inverter (VSI), a dc-link capacitor, a two-quadrant dcdc
diagram in Fig. 7. The active power Pel measured at the grid chopper, and a huge inductor as the superconducting coil, as
interface of the power electronic converter is low-pass filtered shown in Fig. 9. The bidirectional VSI and two-quadrant dc
before it is used as the measurement feedback signals Pm . dc chopper are used to transfer both active and reactive
These fil- ters are necessary to stabilize the control loops. powers between wind generator and superconducting coil. The
Similar to the VSM method, the instantaneous voltage phase- capacity of SMES is determined by the inductance and critical
angle reference current of superconducting coil. Using the SMES system, the
SOURCES fluctuation can be sig- nificantly reduced as shown
in Fig. 10 [30].

Fig. 9. Configuration of a SMES unit [30].



Local load harmonic Yes (without good Yes Yes

compensation damping)
PCC harmonic voltage Yes Yes Yes
DC-line current harmonic Yes (indirect current Yes Yes
rejection control)
Grid impendence variations Sensitive Insensitive Insensitive
Stand-alone operation with Yes Yes Yes
voltage control
Harmonics sharing Yes (requires information Yes Yes
of feeder impedance)

compensation: the current-control method (CCM), the voltage-

control method (VCM), and the hybrid-control method
(HCM). The harmonic compensation can be either for local
loads or at the PCC. A summary of different harmonic
compensation schemes is shown in Table IV [35].
The virtual-impedance-based control scheme provides an at-
Fig. 10. Response of system frequency with variable wind speed: (a) wind tractive way to shape dynamic profiles of converters. Over
speed [30]; and (b) frequency response without and with the SMES system last few years, the virtual impedance method was increas-
ingly employed for controlling VSCs and current-source con-
verters (CSC), mainly driven by the fast-growing renewable
power generation and energy efficient loads in power grid. The
virtual-impedance-control loop can be embedded as an addi-
Due to application of power electronic converters/inverters, tional degree of freedom for active stabilization and distur-
harmonics are produced by renewable energy generation. bance rejection, or employed as a command reference gener-
Vari- ous harmonics mitigation and compensation methods ator for the converters to provide ancillary services. The
have been investigated and proposed [8], [11], [31][35]. virtual impedance classifications based on their functions are
Active power filters form a commonly used research stream in summa- rized in Fig. 11. The virtual-impedance-control
harmonic re- duction [31], [32]. Another main research stream method can be used in stabilization, power flow control, fault
is to design and implement innovative-control methods for ride through, and harmonic/unbalance compensation. The
grid-interfacing converters to compensate harmonics [35], principle of the virtual- impedance-control method in various
which is the main focus in this section. applications is summa- rized in [36].
Li and He [35] provided a comprehensive review for har- The application of virtual-impedance-control method on har-
monic compensation using control of converters for renewable monic compensation for renewable energy sources have been
energy-based DG. There are three control methods for

Fig. 11. Virtual impedance classification based on their functions for VSCs and CSCs [36].

Fig. 12. Voltage control and virtual impedance implementation [38].

reported in [8], [37], and [38]. The virtual impedance can be performance of DG units. An adaptive impedance concept is
placed between the interfacing converter output and main proposed to further improve power control performances dur-
power grid to improve system stability and provide proper ing the transient and grid faults. During transients, the virtual
sharing of harmonic compensation among multiple DG units impedance can enhance the dynamic performance of power
accord- ing to their available ratings [35], [38]. The optimal controllers [36], [38]. For the second area, a robust virtual
design value, robust implementation, and proper utilization of impedance implementation method is developed, which can
the vir- tual impedance for the performance enhancement for effectively mitigate voltage distortions caused by harmonic
DG are key aspects for the virtual impedance method. A loads [38].
virtual impedance design and implementation approach is The control block diagram for the voltage control and
proposed by considering these key aspects in [38]. virtual impedance implementation is shown in Fig. 12 [38]. A
In [38], two areas of power system performance are case study demonstrates the effectiveness of the proposed
improved by utilizing virtual impedance approach: 1) improve virtual impedance harmonic mitigation method: 1) without a
system performance during transient and grid faults; and 2) virtual impedance, a physical impedance with 0.047p.u.
achieve harmonics mitigation. For the first area, flexible reactance (4 mH) and 0.031p.u. resistance (1 ) is
small-signal models of microgrids in different operation connected at the DG output, the total harmonic distortion
modes are devel- oped first, the desired DG impedance range (THD) of the PCC voltage is 9.21% (the corresponding
is then determined considering the stability, transient waveforms, DG voltage, DG current, and PCC voltage are
response, and power flow shown in Fig. 13); 2) with a

the problem, Zeng et al. [39] propose a comprehensive power

quality evaluation algorithm to achieve the optimal control by
an analytic hierarchy process theory.
The proposed optimal compensation strategy of MFGTIs is
based on a comprehensive power quality index model. The
harmonic and reactive current are considered to have same
weight for traditional power quality conditioners, while the
pro- posed MFGTIs objective-oriented optimal compensation
strat- egy considers the harmonic and reactive current
components in the microgrid with different contributing
weights. The proposed method is proved to be effective
through a case study: 1) before compensation, the THD of the
utility voltage is 4.05%, and the THD of the grid-tied current
at PCC is 12.97%; 2) after DG1 starts power quality
Fig. 13. Without a virtual impedanceSingle DG unit with nonlinear load compensation, the THD of the utility volt- age is 3.88%, and
in islanding operation (with physical impedance X = 0.47 p.u., R = 0.031
p.u.) [38].
the THD of the grid-tied current at PCC is
6.11% [39].
It is well recognized that renewable energy sources will pro-
duce harmonics; however, field and lab measurement data are
currently needed in order to study characteristics and obtain
typ- ical harmonic spectrums generated from wind and solar
power generation. Some field measurements are presented in
[33] and [34], but they are not enough to form a clear picture
of harmonic characteristics. Future research shall be focused
on collecting more harmonic data through lab experiments and
field measure- ments for renewable energy sources.


Electrical energy storage can be utilized in power grid for
the following purpose: 1) reduce electricity costs by storing
Fig. 14. With a virtual impedanceSingle DG unit with nonlinear load in elec- tricity obtained at off-peak hours when its price is lower,
islanding operation (with virtual reactance X = 0.044 p.u., physical and using it at peak hours instead of using the electricity
impedance X = 0.003 p.u., R = 0.031 p.u.) [38]. bought at higher prices; 2) support customers when power grid
fail- ures occur to improve the reliability of the power supply;
virtual impedance, a 0.044-p.u. virtual reactance is imple- and
mented, and, thus, the feeder reactance is reduced to 0.003 3) maintain and improve power quality [42].
p.u. and the resistance remains the same, the THD of the Fig. 15 shows energy storage applications for renewable en-
PCC voltage is reduced to 4.77% (the corresponding wave- ergy integration [42]. The different types of electrical energy
forms, DG voltage, DG current, and PCC voltage are shown in storage can be classified according to the energy form, as
Fig. 14) [38]. shown in Fig. 16 [42].
Another harmonic compensation research effort is to use the A basic service requirement for power utilities is to sup-
multifunctional grid-tied inverter (MFGTI) [39][41], an ad- ply power to customers with the voltage and frequency within
vanced grid-tied inverter, which can not only interface renew- tolerance. On the other hand, the renewable energy output is
able energy into power grid, but also enhance power quality at undependable because of changing weather conditions. The
its grid-tied point as an auxiliary service. In general, the fluctuation in the renewable generation output makes system
capacity of a grid-tied inverter is larger than that of the frequency control difficult, and electric energy storage can
installed PV arrays and wind turbines, so it can accommodate pro- vide frequency control functions to achieve effective
stochastic and inter- mittent features of solar irradiation and frequency control [42].
wind speed. A grid-tied inverter does not always operate at its Although the voltage is generally controlled by transformer
nominal capacity point, and its surplus capacity is available in tap changers and reactive power with phase modifiers in
most of its operation time. Therefore, grid-tied inverters have power grid, electric energy storage can also help with voltage
additional capacity that can be utilized to enhance the power adjust- ment. The energy storage located at the end of a
quality, and no extra power quality conditioner may be needed heavily loaded line can help us to improve voltage drops by
in an inverter-dominated mi- crogrid. Because the apparent discharging elec- tricity and reduce voltage rises by charging
capacity of an MFGTI for power quality compensation is electricity [42].
limited, optimal utilization of such a limited capacity becomes For a small isolated power network, such as an island,
a critical aspect of this study. To solve electric energy storage enables utility to supply stable power
to con- sumers, where diesel generators and renewable energy
sources are usually used together [42][44]. Electrical energy

2) The virtual impedance method is an important method

for harmonic compensation based on the converter
control. This method also shows significant future
potential to improve the system stability.
3) More efforts should be put in obtaining field measure-
ments on harmonic spectrums for wind and PV power
plants, and residential PV systems in order to investigate
their harmonic characteristics.
4) The innovative control schemes for inverters should be
developed to cope with the grid-side disturbances for im-
proving renewable energy sources ride-through

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