AMSC Signs Additional Power Grid Contracts in Australia

These are the 50 th and 51 st wind farms to have purchased AMSC’s D-VAR systems worldwide and AMSC’s 6 th and 7 th wins in Australia.

Both of the D-VAR solutions included in these new contracts will be deployed to enable wind farms to meet local grid interconnection requirements. AMSC will provide a D-VAR system to Suzlon Energy Australia Pty. Ltd., a subsidiary of India’s Suzlon Energy Limited, for the 132 megawatt (MW) AGL Hallett 4 (North Brown Hill) Wind Farm being erected outside of Jamestown, South Australia. AMSC also will provide a D-VAR system to Consolidated Power Projects Australia Pty Ltd. for Roaring 40s Renewable Energy Pty Ltd.’s 111 MW Waterloo Wind Farm currently under construction approximately 100 kilometers north of Adelaide in South Australia. Both D-VAR systems will be delivered within the next six months.

Customers can utilize AMSC’s D-VAR: solutions to provide voltage regulation, power factor correction and post-contingency assistance to help prevent voltage collapse on the power grid to which the wind farms are connected. These solutions enable wind farm developers to meet grid interconnection requirements adopted in countries such as Australia.

“In order to help facilitate the integration of electricity generated from renewable sources of energy, Australia is requiring that the reactive compensation of wind power plants be similar to that of traditional generation plants,” said Timothy Poor, Senior Vice President of Global Sales and Business Development at AMSC. “As a result, we are seeing a growing pipeline of opportunities for our best-in-class D-VAR solution. With Australia recently setting a target to derive 20 percent of its electricity needs from renewable sources by 2020, we believe this will be a sizable market for AMSC for many years to come.”

AMSC’s D-VAR solutions will now be supporting more than 700 MW of wind power in Australia. The country currently has a total installed capacity of 1.9 gigawatts (GW) of wind energy according to market research firm Emerging Energy Research : (EER). The Australian government recently announced support of a law requiring that 20 percent of Australia’s electricity be derived from renewable sources such as solar and wind by 2020 – more than twice the country’s current level. Wind generated electricity is expected to account for more than 50% of this total, with the steepest growth in the market occurring between 2010 – 2015, according EER’s Global Wind Turbine Markets and Strategies: 2009–2020 report. EER estimates Australia’s total installed capacity will rise to 10 GW by 2020.

AMSC’s D-VAR solutions : provide voltage regulation and power factor correction, along with post-contingency assistance to stabilize voltage, relieve power grid congestion, improve electrical efficiency, and prevent blackouts in power grids. D-VAR reactive compensation systems are classified as Static Compensators, or "STATCOMs," a member of the FACTS (Flexible AC-Transmission System) family of power electronic solutions for alternating current (AC) power grids. These Smart Grid : solutions are able to detect and instantaneously compensate for voltage disturbances by dynamically injecting leading or lagging reactive power into the power grid. AMSC has received orders for over 70 STATCOM power grid solutions worldwide, more than all other manufacturers combined. The company’s STATCOM customers include more than 20 electric utilities and over 50 wind farms.

American Superconductor’s (AMSC) PowerModule™ and D-VAR® technologies are proving to be the solutions of choice for wind farms around the globe – enabling operators to regulate voltage to optimize the operation and output of individual wind turbines and wind farm owners to meet the standards for interconnection of wind farms to power grids.

Technology transfer of fully developed wind turbines is provided by the Windtec subsidiary of AMSC.

Wind Energy Market

Wind energy has emerged as the fastest growing source of energy, with 120 GW installed throughout the world at the end of 2008 according to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). They project that the total cumulative worldwide capacity could exceed 1,000 GW by 2020. As the total base of installed wind capacity continues to grow with the installation of additional wind turbines and wind farms, compliance with interconnection criteria becomes increasingly important. In many cases, dynamic voltage regulation and continuous power factor correction are required to keep wind turbine generators online, assuring that the business interests and reliability expectations of both wind developers and utilities are met.

Technical challenges

Developers, operators, and utilities face many challenges when interconnecting large, distributed sources of generation with fluctuating output, such as wind energy. These challenges come in many forms.

Many of today’s wind turbines are induction type generators that absorb large amounts of VARs (Volt-Amperes Reactive) from the grid. For such machines, VAR flow fluctuates with the power output of the turbines. Uncompensated, these variations in VAR flow can cause severe voltage fluctuations, affecting overall power quality and the reliability of the local transmission grid. Traditionally, switched capacitors have been used to compensate for fluctuating VAR requirements. However, a typical wind farm can experience 50-100 capacitor switching events on a given day. Such frequent switching can cause stresses, effectively reducing life-cycle times of the capacitor switches. In addition, some wind generator gearboxes are sensitive to large step changes in voltage associated with normal capacitor switching, which can overstress the gearbox – one of the costliest and most maintenance intensive components of a wind turbine.

Keeping wind turbines online under low voltage conditions is also a potential trouble spot that developers and operators need to consider. Transient voltage events that drop voltage below turbine tolerance levels can cause generators to trip offline. Most interconnection standards today require wind farms to have the ability to ride through faults (Low Voltage Ride Through). This can be accomplished either by the wind turbine manufacturer or with a centralized solution in the wind farm substation.

AMSC’s D-VAR system is ideally suited to help meet wind farm interconnection standards. The D-VAR system is a fully integrated, inverter-based reactive compensation system (STATCOM). It can be seamlessly integrated with low cost capacitor banks in an extremely cost-effective solution that provides steady-state voltage regulation, power factor correction, and high and low voltage ride through capability for the entire wind farm. The D-VAR system can also “soft-switch” capacitors, thereby eliminating the voltage step changes seen by the wind farm and the utility.

D-VAR systems are cost effective solutions that can provide tight voltage regulation and power factor correction to alleviate fluctuating voltage and VAR demands at wind farms.

AMSC’ s newest dynamic reactive power product is the D-VAR RT system designed to enable individual wind turbines to meet even the most restrictive grid interconnection requirements. This patent-pending product brings a powerful solution to operators of existing wind turbines that are facing challenges due to new regulatory requirements, such as the Spanish grid interconnection requirement P.O.12.3.

The D-VAR RT in-turbine system is a powerful, cost-effective technology that dynamically stabilizes the wind turbines and also can regulate the voltage of the collection system connecting to the power transmission grid. Problems solved by the D-VAR RT system include voltage regulation, power factor correction and low- and high-voltage ride through.
PowerModule™ Power Converters

The AMSC PowerModule PM1000 is a power converter designed with a building block approach that can be placed right in the wind turbine. The PM1000 inverter can provide power flow control and low voltage ride through (LVRT) capability, similar to the external D-VAR solution, and is cost effective for smaller wind farms. It is a highly power dense (130 W/ in3), fully programmable, flexible and modular system and can be applied to various wind turbine makes and models.
AMSC Windtec® Engineering and Design

Since its founding in 1995, AMSC Windtec has become one of the world’s leading wind turbine engineering companies, with more than a dozen customers worldwide.

Complete customer-specific development of high quality and highly efficient wind turbines are provided by one independent company with many years of experience and expertise.

Technology transfer of fully developed wind turbines.

One single and professional source for core components — fast and easy implementation, fully tested, highly reliable, including:

* Superior pitch system, including unique SafetyLOCK™ solution
* Superior power quality due to product innovation such as SuperGEAR™ technology
* Highly efficient power converter system with IGBT technology
* Complete control system, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system
* Professional training and support from development to series production