Grid integration key to Turkey’s wind power success

Turkey has emerged as a significant player in wind power. ABB's grid integration expertise can help the country make best use of new renewable resources.

Turkey has emerged as a significant player in wind power, and has set ambitious goals driven by determined political leadership. Wind power already provides an impressive five per cent of Turkey’s power generation capacity, and new installations are growing at double-digit rates.

During 2014, Turkey added some 800 megawatts of new wind energy capacity to bring total capacity to 3.8 gigawatts. The Turkish Wind Energy Association (TWEA) has set a target of 5 gigawatts of capacity for this year and is expected to grow by more than a gigawatt annually to reach 20 gigawatts by 2023.

Turkey’s total installed generation capacity is 70 gigawatts and the target for 2023 is 100 gigawatts. Wind energy can go a long way to meeting Turkey’s longer term energy needs, with an estimated energy potential of 48 gigawatts. The country’s current wind energy project stock stands at 11 gigawatts.

As the country expands capacity, however, one of the biggest challenges faced by Turkey’s wind power industry is to ensure successful integration and interconnection so the benefits of this renewable power source are maximized.

Like all renewable energy sources, wind is intermittent. This means it’s vital that wind power plants are properly designed to meet local grid standards and ensure the power grid remains stable both during normal operation and during faults.

ABB has significant experience in designing systems that ensure grid compliance using both Flexible Alternating Current Transmission Systems (FACTS) and energy storage technologies.

Our consulting services are provided at a very early stage of projects. In 2009 and 2010, for instance, ABB performed the “CREZ Reactive Power Compensation Study” for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) in the US.

This was an extensive study that involved many stakeholders, including seven utilities and ERCOT. The primary purpose was to evaluate the system performance of a new 345kV transmission network intended to bring renewable energy from West Texas and the Texas Panhandle to the eastern load centers in Dallas/Ft. Worth, Austin and San Antonio, and make recommendations related to planned series compensation and the needs for static and dynamic shunt compensation on the system.

In 2013, multinational power utility Vattenfall appointed ABB to build the grid connection for the Pen y Cymoedd Wind Energy Project in Wales which, with 76 turbines and 228 MW generating capacity, will be the largest onshore wind farm in England and Wales when it begins operation in 2016. An interesting aspect of this project is that it will employ our state-of-the-art substation protection and control systems in combination with our static compensator (STATCOM) solution. Together these will control and regulate the output of the wind turbines to ensure they remain within the rigorous power quality standards set by the UK National Grid’s Grid Code.

In order for individual countries and regions to make optimum use of their natural power sources, it makes sense to be better interconnected inside and across borders. Deriving maximum benefit from renewable sources means enabling electricity to flow efficiently between remote onshore locations where the wind blows, solar energy sources where the sun shines, hydro generation and storage sources in mountainous regions – and the energy consumers, wherever they are.

Transmission grids need to be upgraded, with an additional layer complementing the existing 400 kV grid.

High voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission is likely to become the preferred solution for this layer. With the development of a “DC breaker,” ABB has recently achieved a major technological breakthrough towards the realization of an HVDC grid that can transmit energy efficiently across international borders.

Renewable power also demands smarter distribution and consumption. Balancing electricity supply and demand at any given time is becoming much more difficult, given that wind and solar power are intermittent as well as distributed across a vast number of sources.

The growth of renewables makes ensuring grid frequency and voltage stability an increasingly complex task. Distribution grids will need more control, supervision and functionality than ever before.

ABB is leading the way in the development and deployment of smart grid solutions to meet this challenge.

I’ll be on hand to discuss these and related issues at the Intercontinental Wind Power Congress (IWPC) in Istanbul, between March 31 and April 2, 2015. I look forward to seeing you in Turkey for a great discussion.

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About the author

Alfredo Parres

I am the head of ABB's Wind Industry Sector Initiative. Currently based in Spain, I am passionate about wind energy and the many opportunities it offers to transform the world. I have been active in the wind industry since 1999 in the areas of marketing, sales, business development and product management. Since 2013, I have been the chairman of the Renewable Energy Working Group at the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China and now a board member of the WindEurope and chair of its Networks Working Group.
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