Wind Energy Interconnection Standards are Taking Concrete Shape


The variability of wind-turbine output can raise problems for the interconnections between wind farms and electricity grids, and standards have been lacking to address these designs. However, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a ruling in December establishing new interconnection standards for large generators with capacities of 20 MW and above. And new equipment now being tested could help address special considerations that exist when wind resources constitute an especially high proportion of a grid’s overall load.

The new FERC standard—Order No. 661-A—is based on proposals developed in negotiations between the American Wind Energy Assn. and the North American Electric Reliability Council. Specifically, the document covers low-voltage ride-through requirements and power-factor issues along with providing a transition period for currently installed turbines.

Smaller grids often face particular difficulty incorporating wind power’s fluctuating resources into their operations. In general, wind-power contributions cannot total more than 10% to 20% of a grid’s overall generating capacity, according to Karl Stahlkopf, Hawaiian Electric Co. Inc.’s (HECO), chief technology officer. However a new device invented by Stahlkopf and now being tested in HECO’s system helps even out fluctuations by storing energy from gusts before related spikes hit the grid. Stahlkopf says his invention can increase wind-power’s contribution to 50% of connected capacity, which could be a big advantage for remote grids, like those on Hawaii’s islands.

Developers continue to plan new wind-farm installations as standards and technologies mature. Texas is planning to add to its already large wind-turbine inventory with a new wind farm planned for completion this year in ShackelfordCounty, in the north-central area of the state. The project’s initial phase will total 200 MW. Two additional 200 MW phases are being considered for the site.

In other wind power news, a Wind Power Symposium focusing on technology, economics and politics of wind power is scheduled for April 20-21, in WashingtonD.C. Four organizations, including the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC), the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and the Utility Wind Integration Group (UWIG), have announced plans to co-sponsor and cooperate in this major symposium on the current status of wind power and electric utilities. For more information, click here .

Product of the Year
Consulting-Specifying Engineer's Product of the Year (POY) contest is the premier award for new products in the HVAC, fire, electrical, and...
40 Under Forty: Get Recognized
Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing the most talented young individuals...
MEP Giants Program
The MEP Giants program lists the top mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering firms in the United States.
October 2018
Approaches to building engineering, 2018 Commissioning Giants, integrated project delivery, improving construction efficiency, an IPD primer, collaborative projects, NFPA 13 sprinkler systems.
September 2018
Power boiler control, Product of the Year, power generation,and integration and interoperability
August 2018
MEP Giants, lighting designs, circuit protection, ventilation systems, and more
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
Data Center Design
Data centers, data closets, edge and cloud computing, co-location facilities, and similar topics are among the fastest-changing in the industry.
click me