A significant shift in environmental policies and energy deregulation in the last decade has†led to the growth of renewable energy sources. Led by the development of wind farms throughout Europe, changes to 'Grid Codes'†have been implemented requiring embedded generation schemes to stay connected during the presence of system faults (Fault Ride Through requirements). This is contrary to the traditional approach, whereby the power plants were not required to stay connected. Changes to the grid codes also include wider operating limits under steady state conditions (Voltage, power factor limits etc). These changes impose significant stresses on the genset and associated components such as the alternator. Genset manufacturers are posed with the problem of not just dealing with these new challenging operating conditions, but also variation in the grid code requirements across various network operators and countries.
This paper discusses the experience†of Cummins Generator Technologies as an alternator manufacturer in addressing these challenges. For the purpose of this paper the authors perform a case study on the impact of the German grid code on the alternator design and performance and then attempt to provide a generalised view of the impact of grid codes on alternator sizing / selection.
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