Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical and Computer Engineering (PhD)
Real-time Tools for Power System Optimization, Operation, and Control
Ongoing efforts toward environmentally sustainable electricity generation give rise to gradual displacement of synchronous generators by renewable energy resources (RESs). This paradigm shift reshapes power system dynamics and presents numerous challenges to reliable and efficient grid operations. For example, our power system will have reduced inertia and be at higher risk of instability, since the RESs generally interconnect to the grid via power-electronic converters with less or no inertia. Motivated by these challenges arising from RES integration, the concept of virtual synchronous generator (VSG) has been proposed to provide virtual inertia by emulating the SG dynamics in the RES controller. Among all VSG designs, synchronverter is a representative one with concise structure. However, this dissertation finds that conventional synchronverter designs lack in control degrees of freedom, require trial-and-error tuning process, synchronize with the grid slowly, and suffer from output-power coupling. Also, their active-power transfer capacity has not been studied, especially under weak-grid conditions. In order to address these problems and integrate more RESs into our system, my dissertation has five major contributions ranging from control design to tuning method to operation characteristics. First, in order to improve the synchronverter control degrees of freedom, I augment the synchronverter with a damping correction loop, which freely adjusts its response speed without affecting the steady-state performance. In order to simplify the tuning process, I propose a tuning method that evaluates the feasible pole-placement region and directly computes synchronverter parameters to achieve desired dynamics. My proposed tuning method completely avoids the trial-and-error tuning process and thus has overwhelming advantages over conventional tuning methods. Next, in order to synchronize the synchronverter quickly to the grid and enable the flexible ``plug-and-play" operation of RESs, this dissertation proposes a self-synchronizing synchronverter design with both fast self-synchronization speed and easily tuneable parameters. Then, to further improve the tracking performance, I propose a design with reduced output-power coupling. Finally, in order to integrate synchronverter-based RESs in weak grid, this dissertation analytically studies its active power transfer capacity and proposes two countermeasures to improve it. All my proposed designs and analyses are verified through extensive numerical or experimental studies.
In this thesis, we focus on two major real-time applications of modern synchrophasor-based wide-area measurement systems , i.e., transient stability assessment (TSA) and fault detection and identification (FDI). First, we develop a tool for real-time TSA based on automatic learning approaches. We use Classification and Regression Tree (CART) as the classification tool and Multivariate Adaptive Regression Splines (MARS) as the regression tool. To train and validate these tools in a practical setting, we conduct test cases on the full Western Electricity Coordinated Council system model, with emphasis on the BC Hydro (BCH) power system. While being mindful of practical field implementations of the proposed methods, our studies assume limited number of phasor measurement units (PMUs) installed, in accordance with existing infrastructure in the BCH system. The trained CART models are tested and show high accuracy rates, and thus, will be able to predict the transient stability issues of the system under study following different contingencies using the synchrophasors obtained from limited number of PMUs in the system. Also, the MARS models, which are proposed to be applied for TSA for the first time, show reasonable prediction accuracy rates. Next, we investigate the possibility of an accurate real-time FDI using synchrophasors received from PMUs installed at the two ends of a transmission line. We apply a new metric called goodness-of- fit (GoF), which is calculated over the time span of measurement and can quantify the credibility of the received synchrophasors. Then, we apply the data to an FDI method to show how accurate and credible the results are. The obtained results show a reasonable relation between the GoF metric, i.e., credibility of the measured sychrophasors, and the accuracy of the obtained results, validating the significance of the proposed method for real-time applications. As it is very rare to have a real power system with all buses and transmission lines equipped with PMUs, we also propose a wide-area real-time FDI approach using a linear observer. Through this wide-area approach, we demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method by accurately locating a fault in a small test system.