Experience with voltage control from large offshore windfarms: The Danish case

Vladislav Akhmatov

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This paper gives an overview of the state of the art and lists future challenges to reactive power and voltage control in the Danish transmission system in relation to large offshore windfarms. Today, the reliable and stable operation of the Danish transmission system is based on the voltage and frequency control carried out at central, conventional power plants. Moreover, the control of some larger decentralized combined heat and power units is activated for voltage control and system balancing, which is specific for the Danish system. In the years to come, according to the government's goal of increasing the share of renewable energy sources in the Danish power system, the share of large offshore windfarms in the Danish power generation mix will increase greatly, replacing central power plants, including their control characteristics during periods of strong winds. Large offshore windfarms must therefore provide the transmission system with the necessary voltage and frequency control, e.g. ancillary services, and ensure secure operation of the power system through their contribution to system service. Danish experience, based on the operation of a system with two large offshore windfarms and several smaller ones, has shown that the efficient use of windfarms' reactive power and voltage control for the on-land transmission system might be limited by several factors. Among such limiting factors are the reactive power and current capability limits of the electronic power converters and switchable capacitor banks of the offshore wind turbines, which are smaller than those of central power plants measured per unit of the active power rating. Combine this with the use of AC cables, tens of kilometres long, to connect the large offshore windfarms to the on-land transmission system, the reactive power range available to the transmission system gets poor. The Transmission System Operator should already take such limiting factors and alternative solutions for efficient reactive power and voltage control, such as incorporation of a reactive power compensation unit at the on-land point of connection or evaluation of a Voltage Sourced Converter-High Voltage Direct Current instead of an AC connection, into consideration during the planning phase for a windfarm connection. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWind Energy
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)692-711
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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