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Benchmark of Annual Energy Production for Different Wind Farm Topologies

Stephan Meier

Royal Institute of Technology Electrical Machines and Power Electronics 100 44 Stockholm, Sweden stephan@ekc.kth.se

Abstract— Wind power generation has become an established alternative power source. Especially large wind farms in remote or offshore locations are emerging strongly. Their grid connection demands new transmission solutions as distances increase. A newly proposed voltage source converter (VSC) based HVDC transmission system looks promising compared to conventional AC and DC transmission systems. This paper presents a benchmark of the estimated annual energy production (AEP) of a 200 MW wind farm depending on the transmission distance and the average wind speed. The proposed system is compared to two state-of-the-art wind farm topolo- gies: Variable-speed wind turbines with doubly-fed induction generators (DFIG) and either AC or DC transmission systems. The benchmark comprises detailed drive-train, converter, trans- former, distribution and transmission loss models. The total system losses as well as the loss distribution between the different components as a function of the transmission distance and the average wind speed allows important conclusions for future wind farm projects.

I. INTRODUCTION

Today, quite a few wind farms in the power range of several hundred megawatts are under planning [1]. Promising sites however are often situated in remote places or offshore, due to better wind conditions. This leads to increasing distances between wind farms and suitable grid connection points. Un- fortunately, AC cables inherently generate reactive power that limits the maximum permissible AC cable length. DC cables however are not affected by cable charging currents and may be as long as needed. Thus, for increasing distances, HVDC transmission based on VSCs, also called VSC transmission, is a feasible and reliable solution compared to traditional AC transmission. An augmented application of VSC transmission systems is mainly limited by the cost of the expensive converter stations at both transmission ends and the semiconductor losses. Es- pecially the high-frequency PWM switching generates losses and decreases the system efficiency. On the other hand, VSC transmission offers some valuable advantages. Currently, many new installed transmission lines are cables and no longer overhead lines. The right-of-way permission for underground or submarine DC cables are often easier to obtain due to reduced environmental impacts. Furthermore, the VSC stations contribute to stabilize the AC network at their connection points. The controllable active power flow can contribute to

Philip C. Kjær

Vestas Wind Systems A/S R&D, Converter Design Frankrigsvej 15 8450 Hammel, Danmark pck@vestas.com

(1) (2) (3)
(1)
(2)
(3)

Fig. 1.

(1) DFIG wind turbines with conventional HVAC transmission, (2) DFIG wind turbines with conventional VSC based HVDC transmission, (3) Proposed VSC based HVDC transmission system.

Considered variable-speed wind farm topologies:

regulate the network frequency. The independent control of the reactive power at both cable ends allows to both excite the induction generators of the wind turbines and to assist the voltage control in the AC network [2].

II. CONSIDERED TOPOLOGIES

This paper presents a benchmark of the AEP of three differ- ent wind farm topologies. Today, variable-speed wind turbine generator systems (WTGS) with DFIGs are the predominant solution. In DFIG wind turbines, the stator of the induction generator is directly connected to the wind farm grid via a transformer, whereas the rotor windings are connected to a frequency converter (back-to-back VSC) over slip rings. Even though its slip rings are maintenance intensive, the DFIG is beneficial as it allows the wind turbine to operate over a wide speed range with a frequency converter that is only rated at a fraction of the nominal power. A topology with DFIG wind turbines and conventional HVAC transmission as shown in Fig. 1.1 offers a simple and cost- efficient solution for the grid connection of wind farms. In Fig. 1.2, the grid connection is instead realized by a conven-

+/− 150 kV 150 kV AUX DC 500 Hz 50 Hz 33 kV, 500 Hz
+/− 150 kV
150
kV
AUX
DC
500
Hz
50 Hz
33 kV, 500 Hz
3 kV, 500 Hz
1 kV, f
var
Gearbox
Squirrel−cage induction generator
AUX
Single−phase VSC
Cycloconverter
Auxiliary power 500/50Hz−converter
Single−phase MF transformer
Circuit breaker
AUX
Disconnector
Second−order shunt filter
Cycloconverter output filter

Fig. 2.

Topology of the proposed VSC transmission system.

tional VSC based HVDC link. One of the three considered topologies is new, and differs strongly from previously pub- lished wind power transmission systems, as the wind turbine converters and the power collection between the wind turbines

are inseparable and specific. Fig. 1.3 shows this system, which

is described in the following section.

III. PROPOSED SYSTEM

The topology of the proposed soft-switched AC/DC con- version system is shown in Fig. 2. It basically incorporates a single-phase VSC and cycloconverters connected via a single- phase medium-frequency (MF) collection bus. Thereby, all wind turbine nacelles are equipped with the following components: The drive train comprises a gearbox,

a squirrel-cage induction generator and a cycloconverter with

a passive output filter. The valves of the cycloconverter do

not need any turn-off capability and can be realised by fast thyristors connected in anti-parallel. The auxiliary power demand is directly supplied from the wind turbine mains over

a single-phase transformer and a frequency converter. The

connection of the wind turbine to the local collection bus is

integrated in the bottom of each tower. An MF transformer increases the voltage to 33 kV, where a circuit breaker enables the wind turbine to disconnect from the collection bus (e.g. during faults or at low wind speeds and during maintenance).

A second-order shunt filter dampens the ringing of the square-

wave voltage caused by the cable resonance of the collection grid. The power collection from the individual wind turbines is realized by a single-phase MF bus. It connects the wind turbines to an offshore platform comprising the main circuit breakers, the main transformer and a single-phase VSC. The main MF transformer raises the bus voltage to 150 kV for onward transmission, which is half the DC link voltage. The high-voltage side of the transformer is connected to a

single-phase VSC, whereas one of the transformer terminals

is connected to the midpoint in the DC link created by bus-

splitting capacitors. These capacitors provide the DC voltage

source necessary for the dynamics of the system and limit the voltage ripple on the DC line. Series-connected IGBTs with antiparallel diodes and snubber capacitors form the valves of the VSC. The snubber capacitors allow the IGBTs to turn-off

at zero-voltage conditions.

A. Principle of operation

By alternately commutating the cycloconverters and the VSC it is possible to achieve soft commutations for all the semiconductor valves [3]. The cycloconverters can be solely operated by natural commutation, whereas snubbered or zero- voltage commutation is always enabled for the VSC. Thereby, the VSC is commutated at fixed time instants with constant intervals (500 Hz switching frequency), thus generat- ing a square-wave voltage. The cycloconverter phase legs are then commutated in order to obtain the desired PWM generator voltages from the MF square-wave voltage. A more detailed description of the operation principle and the basic waveforms was previously published in [4].

B. Specific features

The proposed converter topology differs considerably from conventional VSC transmission systems, as e.g. HVDC Light from ABB [5].

A main ambition of the proposed system is lower initial costs.

Single-phase MF transformers are not only cheaper than three-

phase transformers but also more compact which simplifies their integration in the wind turbines. However, the design of the MF transformers has to be adapted to the specific

characteristics of the proposed topology. Especially the design

of the transformer insulation needs to withstand high voltage

derivatives (however limited by the snubber capacitors of the

VSC). The initial costs are further decreased by a significant reduction of series-connected IGBT valves in the VSC. IGBTs are expensive and require complex gate drives and voltage- sharing circuitries. A prior publication revealed that the IGBT power rating of the main VSC is reduced by approximately 30 % compared to a conventional VSC for the same effective switching frequency [6]. Compared to the IGBT-based fre- quency converters in the DFIGs, the cycloconverter valves con- sist of comparatively cheap and well-established fast thyristors. However, unlike the frequency converters, the cycloconverters are rated at nominal power. The high-frequency PWM switching losses of the VSCs con- tribute considerably to the total system losses. The proposed topology however offers soft-switching of all semiconductor valves and reduces the switching losses substantially. In ad- dition, the thyristors in the cycloconverters have low losses compared to IGBTs. Thus, the converter efficiency in the wind farm (both cycloconverters and single-phase VSC) is expected to reach up to approximately 99 % [6]. The application of single-phase MF transformers reduces the total system losses further. However, the square-wave voltage on the MF collec- tion bus causes higher cable and filter losses within the wind farm.

IV. SYSTEM PARAMETERS

The considered wind farm is rated at 201 MW, collecting the power from 67 identical 3 MW wind turbines. The two refer- ence topologies have DFIGs, where the generator excitation is provided from the rotor converter, allowing the wind turbine to generate power at unity, or any other, power factor. For the proposed topology, the cycloconverters have to supply the reactive power to compensate the magnetising currents of the induction generators. A typical DFIG wind turbine operates in the slip-range ±10-15 %, which approximately reflects the frequency converter rating. Modern wind turbines must also comply with new grid connection requirements [7] concerning fault ride-through and particular power-factor ranges. To meet these requirements, the converter rating for the DFIGs may increase somewhat in the near future. The wind turbines generate into a collection bus of 33 kV, before the voltage is transformed up for onward transmission. In case of HVDC transmission, the DC cable voltage is ±150 kV. Fig. 3 shows the chosen wind farm and collection bus layout, with a distance of nine times the blade diameter between two wind turbines perpendicular to the prevailing wind direction. Table I presents an overview of the system parameters.

V. METHODOLOGY

This section presents the applied methodology in order to determine the AEP and the losses in the different system components.

A. Annual energy production

The estimated AEP for the considered wind farm topologies is calculated according to the IEC wind energy standard IEC61400-12 [8]. This standard specifies the procedure for

TABLE I

SYSTEM PARAMETERS

Electrical system parameters Rated power Collection bus voltage

201 MW

33 kV

HVDC link voltage ±150 kV

AC transmission voltage 132, 150 or 220 kV 1 Wind turbine parameters Rated active power
AC transmission voltage
132, 150 or 220 kV 1
Wind turbine parameters
Rated active power
Number of wind turbines
DFIG frequency converter rating
3 MW
67
300 kW
1 The choice of the cable voltage is discussed in section V-E.2.
Offshore platform
10.4 km
4 km

Fig. 3.

Wind farm layout with 33 kV collection bus.

measuring the power performance characteristics of WTGSs connected to the electric power network. The power perfor- mance characteristics of WTGSs are defined by the measured power curve and the estimated AEP. The AEP is an estimate of the total energy production of a WTGS during a one-year period by applying the measured power curve to different reference wind speed frequency distributions at hub height, assuming 100 % availability. Thereby, a Rayleigh distribution is used as the reference wind speed frequency distribution. AEP calculations should be made for annual average wind speeds V avg of between 4 and 11 m/s [8] as

AEP = N h

N

i=1

F (V i ) F (V i1 ) P i1 + P i ,

2

(1)

where N h is the number of hours in one year 8760 h; N is the number of measuring points; V i and P i are the normalized and averaged wind speed respectively power output; and F (V i ) is the Rayleigh cumulative probability distribution function for a certain wind speed as shown in Fig. 4. In addition to standard IEC61400-12, this benchmark includes also the transmission losses between the wind farm and the AC grid. Thus, the significant estimated AEP that becomes available for onward distribution can be expressed as a func- tion of the transmission distance and the average wind speed.

B. Wind turbine power curve

According to standard IEC61400-12, the single-turbine power curve was determined by collecting simultaneous mea- surements of wind speed and power output on the high-voltage

1 0.9 4 m/s 0.8 0.7 0.6 V avg 0.5 11 m/s 0.4 0.3 0.2
1
0.9
4 m/s
0.8
0.7
0.6
V
avg
0.5
11 m/s
0.4
0.3
0.2
0.1
0
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
Cumulative probability F (V )

Wind speed V (m/s)

Fig. 4. Rayleigh cumulative probability distribution function for average wind speeds V avg between 4 and 11 m/s.

1 Single−turbine Multi−turbine 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 0 0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3
1
Single−turbine
Multi−turbine
0.8
0.6
0.4
0.2
0
0
0.5
1
1.5
2
2.5
3
Normalized power P (p.u.)

Normalized wind speed V (p.u.)

Fig. 5. Normalized single- and multi-turbine power curves. The average wind speed for the calculation of the multi-turbine power curve is 8 m/s and the normalized standard deviation σ is 0.1 relative to the average wind speed.

side of the wind turbine transformer. The power output of variable-speed wind turbines is rather smooth as they are storing wind gusts in rotational energy. Fig. 5 shows the normalized power curve of the commercially available 3 MW wind turbine Vestas V90-3MW [9], where the output power is constant above a wind speed of 14 m/s. The rated wind speed however is 9 m/s, above which the output power is gradually reduced by pitch control. Fig. 5 shows an example of a multi-turbine power curve that considers the smoothing effects of the aggregated power output from the whole wind farm [10]. It is used for loss calculations on the wind farm level. The multi-turbine power curve takes the spatial wind speed distribution into account, while the accumulated AEP remains unchanged compared to the single- turbine power curve. Assuming an average wind turbulence intensity and a spacial distribution of the wind turbines ac- cording to Fig. 3, the normalized standard deviation of the wind speed distribution σ was determined as approximately 0.02 [10].

C. Drive train losses

Drive train losses comprise mechanical losses in the gearbox and the bearings as well as electrical losses in the generator, converter, transformer and filter. Due to the fact that the wind turbine power curve is determined by measurements of the power output on the high-voltage side of the wind turbine

1.5 1 0.5 0 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 AEP gain (%)
1.5
1
0.5
0
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
AEP gain (%)

Average wind speed V avg (m/s)

Fig. 6.

due to lower drive train losses

Increased AEP of the proposed system compared to a DFIG-system

transformer, the drive train losses and the turbine’s auxiliary power consumption are already included in the power curve of the wind turbine. Howsoever, the proposed system differs considerably from the DFIG-system of the Vestas V90-3MW. The frequency converter is replaced by a cycloconverter and the three-phase transformer by a single-phase MF transformer. The reduced drive train losses of the proposed system were considered in a power gain compared to the DFIG-system. Fig. 6 shows this power gain in the AEP depending on the average wind speed.

It can be seen that the smaller no-load losses of the proposed

system increase the power gain at low average wind speeds.

D. Converter losses

The VSC losses are analytically calculated as a function of the wind speed, respectively power output. The losses in the three-phase VSCs have been confirmed with measurements from ABB on the Cross Sound Cable Interconnector [11]. The frequency modulation ratio for both wind farm and grid side VSCs is chosen as p = 21, thus assuring the same effective switching frequency as the proposed topology. Detailed calculations of the converter losses were previously published in [6].

E. Transmission and distribution losses

1) DC cable losses: The choice of an appropriate DC cable for the specific nominal power of the wind farm is based on

a comparison with similar HVDC transmission projects. With

the choice of the cable NOVA-L 1x630 mm 2 Cu from Nexans (see Table III), a reasonable margin between the nominal wind farm current I dc and the maximum allowable current I max is obtained (refer to Table II). Reference [12] presents a calculation procedure for the deter- mination of cable losses and temperatures, taking the tempera- ture dependence of cable losses into account. The temperature increase in the cable core θ depends on the cable current I as

θ =

θ max c α

I max

I

2

c m θ max α 20

I max 2 ,

I

(2)

where θ max = θ max θ amb is the max. allowable temperature rise;

TABLE II

DC CABLE DIMENSIONING

Cross Sound

Cape Wind

Proposed

Cable [11]

Cable [13]

Wind Farm

P nom [MW]

330

420

201

V dc [kV]

± 150

± 150

± 150

I dc [A]

1100

1400

670

Cu-cable [mm 2 ]

1x1300

2x630

1x630

 

1500

2x935

935

I max [A] Margin [%]

36.4

33.6

39.6

θ max = 70 C is the maximum conductor temperature; θ amb = 15 C is the ambient temperature; α 20 is the temperature coefficient of the conductor resistivity; c α = 1 α 20 (20 θ amb ), c m = 1 α 20 (20 θ amb θ max ). The cable losses per unit length [12] can then be calculated as

(3)

max

I max 2

I

c

α

α 20 θ

,

P = P

c

m

c

m

+

where

max = R max I

P

max 2 is the maximum ohmic cable loss.

2) AC cable losses: The capacitance in submarine AC cables plays a major role in limiting their technically and economically feasible length l. The distributed capacitance C causes charging currents in the cable, thus limiting the load carrying capability of the cable. The longer the cable and the higher the voltage, the higher the resulting charging current I c :

(4)

I c = 2πflC U 3 ,

where f = 50 Hz is the fundamental frequency and U the cable voltage (132 kV, 150 kV or 220 kV). The load carrying capability of the cable can be increased considerably by installing reactive power compensation units at both cable ends. Thus, the resulting maximum cable charg- ing current is only half the one from (4). In this benchmark, reactive power compensation is assumed at both cable ends. From (2), the nominal cable current I ac can be calculated from the maximum cable current I max and the chosen operating temperature at nominal load. Submarine XLPE cables can be loaded continuously up to a conductor temperature of θ max = 90 C. However, in order to keep the losses lower and to avoid possible thermal instability, the operating temperature is chosen to be limited to θ op < 70 C. This becomes particularly important with regard to the fact that the highest currents appear at the cable ends where the cooling is most difficult. The available capacity to carry load current I load is given by (5). This cable capacity determines the number of parallel cables required to transmit the nominal active power.

I load = I ac I c

2

2 2

(5)

The losses in AC submarine cables are composed of dielectric losses (relatively small) and ohmic losses in the conductors,

TABLE III

CABLE PARAMETERS [14]

DC

cable: θ max = 70 C,

θ amb = 15 C, Voltage [kV]

θ

< 41 C I max [A]

op

R

 
 

[/km]

max

NOVA-L 1x630 mm 2 Cu

300

935

0.0322

AC

cable: θ max = 90 C,

θ amb = 15 C, Voltage [kV]

θ

< 70 C I max [A]

op

R

 
 

[/km]

max

TKRA

3x1x240 mm 2 KQ

132

490

0.121

TKRA

3x1x300 mm 2 KQ

132/150

545

0.102

TKRA

3x1x400 mm 2 KQ

132/150

610

0.086

TKRA

132/150/220

675

0.073

TKRA

3x1x500 mm 2 KQ 3x1x630 mm 2 KQ

132/150/220

745

0.062

TKRA

3x1x800 mm 2

KQ

132/150/220

810

0.055

TKRA

132/150/220

870

0.049

TKRA

3x1x1000 mm 2 KQ 3x1x1200 mm 2 KQ

132/150/220

910

0.046

   

[/km]

Distribution cables:

 

Voltage [kV]

I max [A]

R

max

TKRA

33

305

0.26

TKRA

3x1x95 mm 2 KQ 3x1x400 mm 2 KQ

33

610

0.08

metallic shield and the steel wire armor. The dielectric losses can be found as:

d

P

= U 2

3

2πfC tan(δ),

(6)

where tan(δ) = 0.0003 is the loss angle. In contrast to (3), taking the longitudinal distributions of current and temperature into account becomes essential when calculating AC cable losses. The mean cable losses P per unit length can be derived from the current distribution along the

cable by integration of the ohmic losses over the cable length l and adding the dielectric losses [12]:

P

2

max

x=0 I 2 (x)

l

P =

max

lI

c

α

α 20 θ(x)

+

c

m

c

m

dx + P d ,

where

max = 3R

P

max I

max 2 is the maximum ohmic cable loss.

(7)

Table III presents those submarine AC cables from Nexans [14] that were considered in this benchmark. The choice of an appropriate cable arrangement was based on the following considerations: First, the number of parallel cables should be as small as possible. A single three-core cable is favored due to lower environmental impacts and costs, although two ore more parallel cables offer redundancy. Second, from an economical point of view, the cables should not be overdimensioned in order to not distort the loss calculations.

3) Compensation unit losses: To ensure a maximum cable capacity, both transmission cable ends are equipped with reactive power compensation units. Usually they consist of shunt reactors, of which some need to be controllable. When controllable shunt reactors are used, the most common are thyristor-controlled reactors (TCR). Filters are used to reduce

the harmonics injected into the power system by the TCR operation. The internal power loss of the compensation units was as- sumed to be 5 kW per MVAr of rated reactive power.

TABLE IV

TRANSFORMER LOSS CARACTERISTICS

50 Hz three-phase transformers

 

P nl

P l

Efficiency

Loss ratio

33/1 kV, 3 MW

6 kW

12 kW

99.4%

0.50

132/33 kV,

200 MW

115 kW

650 kW

99.62%

0.18

150/33 kV,

200 MW

130 kW

650 kW

99.61%

0.20

220/33 kV,

200 MW

190 kW

650 kW

99.58%

0.29

500 Hz single-phase transformers

 
 

P nl

P l

Efficiency

Loss ratio

 

2.1 kW

2.5 kW

99.85%

0.84

33/3 kV, 3 MW 150/33 kV, 201 MW

47.5 kW

70 kW

99.94%

0.68

4) Wind farm distribution losses: The three-phase distribu- tion losses in the wind farm are calculated according to [12]. Thereby, the wind farm layout as given in Fig. 3 comprises 81.2 km of 33-kV three-core submarine cables. The cable characteristics are given in table III. The cable area 95 mm 2 is suitable for all cable chains, whereas the cable area 400 mm 2 is necessary for the connection of the individual cable chains to the offshore platform. The cable and filter losses of the single-phase MF collection grid are assumed to be twice the losses of the corresponding three-phase collection grid. This assumption was chosen in order to rather overestimate the losses before exact determi- nation. 5) Transformer losses: The transformer core losses, also called no-load losses P nl , are caused by the magnetizing cur- rent needed to energize the transformer core and are essentially invariant with the loading of the transformer. Therefore, a small loss ratio P nl /P l is favorable for power transformers. No-load losses are mostly hysteresis and eddy current losses in the core laminations. The copper or load losses P l arise from resistance losses in the primary and secondary transformer windings. Load losses vary according to the loading of the transformer with the square of the current. Table IV shows the assumed transformer losses, whereas the single-phase MF transformer losses are calculated according to [15].

VI. SIMPLIFICATIONS AND ASSUMPTIONS

The following simplifications and assumptions should be kept in mind when regarding the results of this article:

- The Vestas V90-3MW was not especially designed as offshore wind turbine. The power curve of an ideal offshore wind turbine may therefore slightly differ from the power curve in Fig. 5. Moreover, the V90-3MW has been adapted for the DFIG and may not be an optimal solution for the full-scale converter of the proposed VSC transmission topology.

- The single-phase MF transformer losses are only based on analytical calculations and may turn out to be higher in reality.

- The single-phase MF collection grid has to be further investigated regarding the ringing of the square-wave voltage caused by the cable resonance. An appropriate

1000 900 800 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0 4 5 6 7
1000
900
800
700
600
500
400
300
200
100
0
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
AEP (GWh)

Fig. 7.

Average wind speed V avg (m/s)

AEP of the Vestas V90-3MW depending on the average wind speed.

11 DFIG with HVAC transmission system 10 DFIG with VSC transmission system Proposed VSC transmission
11
DFIG with HVAC transmission system
10
DFIG with VSC transmission system
Proposed VSC transmission system
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
50
75
100
125
150
175
200
225
Losses (%)

Transmission distance (km)

Fig. 8.

average wind speed of 8 m/s.

Transmission system losses of the three considered topologies at an

filter design with a second-order shunt termination of the collection cable can dampen the ringing independent of the cable length. These investigations are essential in order to correctly estimate the MF collection grid losses.

- The choice of the AC cable arrangement at different conditions was simplified and intended mainly to limit the number of parallel cables in order to get a better comparability with the VSC transmission systems. The optimization of the AC cable arrangement has to include such aspects as compensation unit losses, cable losses as well as initial costs and may differ considerably depending on the project conditions. In addition, the calculation of the compensation unit losses has to be more detailed.

- According to standard IEC61400-12, 100 % availability was also assumed for the transmission systems. The available AEP for onward distribution however may be influenced considerably by taking the reliability of the different transmission system components into account, e.g. the converter stations may reduce the reliability of the VSC transmission systems. But this aspect is out of the scope of this article.

VII. RESULTS

A. AEP

The accumulated estimated AEP of the wind turbines without considering any distribution or transmission losses is approximately proportional to the average wind speed, as shown in Fig. 7. It can be seen that the AEP gain above the rated wind speed of 9 m/s is slowly starting to decrease.

Losses (%)

12 10 8 6 AC cable losses 4 2 Compensation unit losses Distribution losses (Main
12
10
8
6
AC cable losses
4
2
Compensation unit losses
Distribution losses (Main transformer and collection grid)
0
50
75
100
125
150
175
200
225

Transmission distance (km)

12 10 8 6 DC cable losses 4 VSC losses 2 Distribution losses (Main transformer
12
10
8
6
DC cable losses
4
VSC losses
2
Distribution losses (Main transformer and
collection grid)
0
50
75
100
125
150
175
200
225
Losses (%)

Transmission distance (km)

12 10 8 6 DC cable losses 4 VSC losses 2 Distribution losses (Main transformer
12
10
8
6
DC cable losses
4
VSC losses
2
Distribution losses (Main transformer and collection grid)
0
50
75
100
125
150
175
200
225
Losses (%)

Transmission distance (km)

(a) DFIG with HVAC transmission system

(b) DFIG with VSC transmission system

(c) Proposed VSC transmission system

Fig. 9.

Loss distribution in the different components of the three considered transmission systems at an average wind speed of 8 m/s.

B. Losses vs. transmission distance

Fig. 8 shows the transmission system losses in percent of the AEP for the three considered topologies as a function of the transmission distance. The transmission losses of the proposed VSC transmission system are decreased by 0.62 % (of the AEP), corresponding to the power gain due to lower drive train losses at an average wind speed of 8 m/s (according to Fig. 6). It can be seen that the proposed VSC transmission system offers approximately 1 % (of the AEP) lower losses than a conventional VSC transmission system at all trans- mission distances. However, conventional HVAC transmission systems generate least losses up to a transmission distance of approximately 75 km. Above 125 km, both VSC transmission systems generate lower losses than the HVAC transmission system. It is interesting to know, that a single 220 kV three- core HVAC cable with a conductor diameter of 1000 mm 2 can transmit the rated power upp to a distance of 150 km. Fig. 9 shows the loss distribution in the different transmission system components for the three considered topologies. For the DFIG system with HVAC transmission in Fig. 9(a), the cable and compensation unit losses dominate over the main transformer and collection grid losses, especially at increasing transmission distances. It can be noticed that the compensation unit losses decrease somewhat at a transmission distance of 175 km, where the single 220 kV cable has to be replaced by two 132 kV cables to be able to transmit rated power. Fig. 9(b) shows the loss distribution for the DFIG system with VSC transmission, where the VSC losses dominate. They are approximately 3.4 % of the AEP and independent of the transmission length. This makes an application of VSC transmission systems ineligible for shorter transmission distances. It can be noticed that the DC cable losses are lower compared to AC cable losses, especially at long transmission distances. Fig. 9(c) shows the transmission loss distribution for the proposed VSC transmission system. As expected, the soft-switched single-phase VSC contributes to decrease the VSC losses. The distribution losses are however higher due to the increased collection grid losses that outweight the loss reduction from the single-phase MF transformer.

9 DFIG with HVAC transmission system 8 DFIG with VSC transmission system Proposed VSC transmission
9
DFIG with HVAC transmission system
8
DFIG with VSC transmission system
Proposed VSC transmission system
7
6
5
4
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
Losses (%)

Average wind speed V avg (m/s)

Fig. 10.

a transmission distance of 100 km.

Transmission system losses for the three considered topologies at

C. Losses vs. average wind speed

Fig. 10 shows the transmission system losses in percent of the AEP as a function of the average wind speed. The transmission distance is 100 km, which is often considered to be a critical length for AC transmission systems [2]. Further- more, at a transmission distance of 100 km, the transmission losses of all three considered topologies are approximately in the same range. The transmission losses of the proposed VSC transmission system are again decreased by the power gain from the lower drive train losses according to Fig. 6. The transmission losses of the proposed system are below 4.5 % (of the AEP) at all average wind speeds and thus the smallest for the three compared transmission systems. Especially at low average wind speeds, the proposed system is advantageous due to its reduced VSC losses and comparably low no-load and drive-train losses. Both DFIG systems with either HVAC or HVDC transmission systems have increasing losses at low average wind speeds. Fig. 11(a) shows the loss distribution in the different trans- mission system components of the DFIG system with HVAC transmission. It can be seen that both the AC cable and distribution losses in percent are approximately constant and independent of the average wind speed. The compensation unit losses in percent however are increasing significantly at low average wind speeds. This is due to the fact that these losses are constant (only depending on the transmission distance and the cable voltage level) and that their significance

Losses (%)

Losses (%)

9 8 7 6 5 4 AC cable losses 3 Compensation unit losses 2 1
9
8
7
6
5
4
AC cable losses
3
Compensation unit losses
2
1
Distribution losses (Main transformer and collection grid)
0
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11

Average wind speed Vavg (m/s)

9 8 7 6 5 DC cable losses 4 3 VSC losses 2 1 Distribution
9
8
7
6
5 DC cable losses
4
3 VSC losses
2
1
Distribution losses (Main transformer and collection grid)
0
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11

Average wind speed Vavg (m/s)

9 8 7 6 5 DC cable losses 4 3 VSC losses 2 1 Distribution
9
8
7
6
5
DC cable losses
4
3
VSC losses
2
1
Distribution losses (Main transformer and collection grid)
0
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
Losses (%)

Average wind speed Vavg (m/s)

(a) DFIG with HVAC transmission system

(b) DFIG with VSC transmission system

(c) Proposed VSC transmission system

Fig. 11.

Loss distribution in the different components of the three considered transmission systems at a transmission distance of 100 km.

increases when the AEP decreases. The loss distributions for the DFIG system with VSC transmission in Fig. 9(b) and the proposed VSC transmission system in Fig. 9(c) show a similar tendence. Thereby, the DC cable losses in percent are increasing approximately proportional to the average wind speed. As expected, the VSC losses in percent are higher at low average wind speeds due to the impact of the no-load losses.

VIII. CONCLUSIONS

This paper presented a benchmark of the estimated AEP as a function of the transmission distance and the average wind speed for three different wind farm topologies. The main conclusions from this work are:

- The critical length for HVAC transmission systems re- garding the losses lies in the range of 100 km. At such long transmission distances, the cable dimensioning, arrangement as well as the chosen voltage level are important design criterias in order to reduce the AC cable losses.

- Distribution and VSC losses in percent of the AEP are nearly independent from the transmission distance, which makes VSC transmission systems ineligible at short transmission distances.

- The DC cable losses in percent of the AEP are increasing proportional to the transmission distance wheras AC cable losses are increasing more than proportional due to charging currents.

- At low average wind speeds, the tranmission system has to be designed with special regard on the no-load losses. In particular the compensation unit and VSC losses become very dominant at low average wind speeds. The proposed VSC transmission system offers approximately 1 % (of the AEP) lower losses than conventional VSC trans- mission systems and has the lowest losses of all three con- sidered topologies above a transmission distance of 100 km at all average wind speeds. However, the application of the proposed VSC transmission system may already be advan- tageous for far shorter transmission distances depending on the specific project conditions. It is also clear that the DFIG

wind turbine with HVAC transmission is very competitive for shorter transmission distances due to the absence of converters and the high turbine efficiency.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

The authors would like to express their gratitude to Vind- Forsk and the Swedish Energy Agency for financial support. A special thank goes to ABB [11] and Nexans [14] for providing the underlying data of this benchmark.

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