Smart grid solution integrates Australia’s first community owned wind farm

ABB’s new smart grid technology, STATCOM PCS 100 was used to connect the renewable energy generated by the Hepburn Wind farm into the electricity grid. The new wind farm located in central Victoria provides a total capacity of 4 MW of power and produces enough electricity for 2,300 homes.

ABB in Australia have plans to export the STATCOM PCS 100 product to the rest of the world.

Renewable energy is widely accepted as the preferred option for the future of energy production and the wind power generation industry is responding to the increased demand for low carbon electricity.

ABB in Australia is working actively with the industry to supply smart grid solutions which enables them to connect clean energy into the main power grid.

Hepburn Wind is Australia’s first community owned wind farm and is located at Leonards Hill, 10 kilometres south of Daylesford in central Victoria.

The facility, which consists of two REpower MM82 2.05 MW (megawatt) wind turbines provides a total capacity of 4 MW of power and will produce enough electricity for 2,300 homes. This provides enough renewable electricity for almost all of the households in Daylesford and Hepburn Springs.

“This is a groundbreaking order for ABB in Australia and the direct result of our desire to develop a new modular and scalable smart grid solution to support the renewable energy and electricity sector in Australia,” said Peter Duncan, ABB’s local business manager for Power Electronics Systems.

“By introducing the new STATCOM PCS 100 product into the market, ABB is now in the unique position of being able to provide scalability with anything from 100 KVAr to several Megavar (MVAr). We believe this is a significant competitive advantage over other similar solutions that are limited by fixed sizing,” concluded Peter.

ABB delivered and commissioned its first PCS 100 STATCOM in April 2011. The STATCOM has a continuous rating of ±1.1 MVAr reactive power and it also provides a degree of active harmonic filtration. It is connected at 22 kV in the wind farm with the aim of enabling the wind engineering consultants, Consolidated Power Projects to fulfill the network connection agreement.

The grid code demands that power plants of any kind support the electricity network throughout their operation. Despite using some of the best turbine technology available, additional equipment like a STATCOM was needed due to the particularly difficult network conditions.

The most advanced solution to compensate the reactive power is to use a voltage controlled power converter with fast semiconductor switches, which can provide fast and variable reactive power to the grid. The STATCOM converter monitors the line current and voltage in order to promptly provide the capacitive or inductive reactive power.

ABB’s PCS 100 STATCOM solution is a modular, redundant, air-cooled, low voltage converter mounted inside a re-locatable shipping container, allowing a fast, easy and cost efficient installation.

The cost benefits include potential savings on land usage due to the small footprint along with savings on civil works as the equipment is delivered to the site as a pre-tested complete solution.

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