Power quality trends in the transition to carbon-free electrical energy systems
Due to the accelerated shift towards a carbon-free electrical energy system, the power system is changing in terms of both planning and operation with an increasing integration of converter-interfaced renewable generation at all voltage levels. One area strongly affected by these changes is power quality where, if not managed correctly, it can result in equipment mis-operation, accelerated aging, tripping of plant, loss of production process, etc. Power quality is ultimately a customer-driven issue but failure to provide the adequate supply can also have negative impact on system operators, including customer complaints, reputational damage and financial liability.
Power systems globally are experiencing a transition towards decarbonisation of electricity production through large-scale deployment of central and distributed renewable energy sources (RES), which are gradually replacing conventional thermal plant. The connection of RES to the power system is mostly achieved using power electronic (PE) converters. Equipment interfaced through PE-converters can have both a positive or negative effect on power quality, depending on the type of disturbance evaluated and the applied control strategy of the PE-converter.
Presently, the understanding of the impact of PE-converters and some related phenomena is not fully developed. However, it is widely accepted that the consequences of degraded power quality can have severe financial implications and most studies in the US and Europe point to an excessively high level of cost if serious problems arise. This reference paper provides a high-level summary of the main and topical power quality issues in this changing environment with the aim of raising awareness of the main facets of power quality.
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