Testbed Enhances Offshore Wind Power-to-Grid Reliability and Security

Achievement date: 

Researchers at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville (UTK) have developed a testbed that improves the ability to reliably emulate most operating scenarios for transferring offshore wind power generation into the onshore grid. This work was supported by the Engineering Research Center for Ultra-wide-area Resilient Electric Energy Transmission Network (CURENT), which is co-funded by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy and headquartered at UTK.


Two-terminalhigh-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission systems have been the standard method for transferring power generated in offshore wind farms into the onshore grid. However, multi-terminal HVDC (MTDC) systems have been shown to offer reliable, redundant, and flexible technology that allows better use of the transmission infrastructure and has the potential to improve system reliability and security. With four terminals, UTK’s testbed is a powerful platform for demonstrating MTDC control and protection approaches. 


Simulation models are used to develop and evaluate operating scenarios in power generation and distribution. However, digital simulation has limitations and may be unable to adequately represent the characteristics of real systems. The advantage offered by UTK’s testbed is that its four terminals allow for verification and validation of simulation models and their results.


The testbed has two wind farm emulators, representing a system transferring the power generated from two offshore wind farms to two onshore load centers. The role and configuration of each terminal can be easily changed, which makes the testbed very flexible. It is able to emulate most operating scenarios at normal as well as fault (abnormal) conditions, such as when there is a defect at the component, equipment, or sub-system level that may lead to a failure.