Stability of autonomous power systems with reversible hydro power plants: A study case for large scale renewables integration

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Pedro Portela Beires
João Peças Lopes
Carlos Moreira
Helena Vasconcelos
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This paper addresses the dynamic stability analysis of an islanded power system regarding the installation of a reversible hydro power plant for increasing renewable energy integration. Being a high-head facility, the hydro power plant consists of separated pumps and turbines (Pelton type). In order to properly support the identification of hydro pumps connection requirements and the technology to be used, different options were taken into consideration, namely: fixed speed pumps coupled to induction machines directly connected to the grid and adjustable speed pumps supplied by a drive system. Extensive numerical simulations of the power system's dynamic behaviour response allowed the evaluation of the hydro power plant's role for the purpose of grid stability conditions. These simulations showed that the high-head hydro power installation provides a marginal contribution to system frequency regulation when explored in turbine operation mode, leading to a reversible power station with a single penstock. Moreover, due to the significant additional system load introduced by the hydro pumping units, the obtained results clearly indicate that supplementary regulation flexibility is required to attend the need of assuring the stable operation of the system in case of critical disturbances such as grid faults. The study case demonstrates that, although the foreseen operation of a reversible hydro power plant creates new security challenges to overcome in an autonomous power system, robust technical solutions can be identified without increasing, from the local system operator's perspective, the operation complexity of the power system. © 2018 Elsevier B.V.