Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Facilities
The Distributed Generation and Smart Grid Test-Bed provides a platform for research on grid integration of renewable energy and other distributed generation resources. It includes the following major components:
- A grid simulator that can be programmed to emulate power grids with different voltage, frequency, and harmonic content, as well as dynamic characteristics such as impedance. The grid simulator, rated at 75 kW, is realized by two voltage-source converters connected back-to-back, and can be configured for operation in either single-phase or three-phase modes.
- A 7 kW fuel-cell-based DG unit consisting of a single-phase grid-connected inverter and a fuel cell simulator. The fuel cell simulator is developed using a programmable dc power source, with a DSP controller which runs the fuel cell model and uses the measured output current to determine a voltage reference for the dc power source.
- A 3 kW solar-based DG unit also consisting of a single-phase grid-connected inverter and a solar panel simulator. The solar panel simulator is based on a programmable power supply and is similar to the fuel cell simulator. Two additional solar inverters are also available for independently interfacing with additional solar power sources.
- A 15 kW wind power generation system based on a motor-generator set. The motor is controlled by a variable-speed drive and can be programmed to emulate the operation of a wind turbine under variable wind conditions. The generator output is rectified using an actively controlled rectifier and then connected to the test-bed distribution network through a three-phase PWM inverter. Both the motor and the generator are custom-designed permanent-magnetic machines with low rated speeds suitable for direct-drive wind applications.
- A distribution network with protection devices to allow each of the DG units and various loads to be connected with the grid simulator for system testing.
- An electronic AC load that can be programmed to emulate different load characteristics (resistive, capacitive, constant current, constant power, etc.) for loading of the grid simulator and different DG units.
- A similar programmable electronic DC load which can be used in conjunction with a diode rectifier to emulate other types of load behavior.
- A new 10-15 kWh battery-based energy storage subsystem will be added in the near future.
The Power Grid Control Laboratory has two unique capabilities. The first is a FACTS Controller Operator Training Simulator (OTS) developed for STATCOM, SSSC, UPFC, and IPFC operations. A customized version of this OTS is operational at the New York Power Authority’s control center as part of the operator training requirements. The second is an integrated synchrophasor data system platform incorporating a phasor data concentrator and a large-scale real-time database for phasor data collection and phasor data application program development. A prototype, called a Flexible Integrated Phasor System (FIPS), is under development, with the intent of deployment in the New England and New York power systems as research tools. Such systems will make synchrophasor data collection and retrieval much easier, which will greatly accelerate the development of methods and algorithms for phasor data applications.