Date of Award

2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Engineering

Faculty

Health, Engineering and Science

First Advisor

Dr Stefan Lachowicz

Second Advisor

Professor Daryoush Habibi

Abstract

Driven by environmental protection, economic factors, conservation of energy resources, and technical challenges, the microgrid has emerged as an innovative small-scale power generation network. Microgrids consist of a cluster of Distributed Generation units that encompass a portion of an electric power distribution system and may rely on different energy sources. Functionally, the microgrid is required to provide adequate levels and quality of power to meet load demands. The issue of power quality is significant as it directly affects the characteristics of the microgrid’s operation. This problem can be defined as an occurrence of short to long periods of inadequate or unstable power outputs by the microgrid. In a stand-alone operation mode, the system voltage and frequency must be established by the microgrid, otherwise the system will collapse due to the variety in the microgrid component characteristics. The harmonic distortion of the output power waveforms is also a serious problem that often occurs because of the high speed operation of the converter switches. The long transient period is a critical issue that is usually caused by changing the operation mode or the load demand. Power sharing among the Distributed Generation units is also an important matter for sharing the load appropriately, particularly given that some renewable energy resources are not available continuously. In a utility connected microgrid, the reliable power quality mainly depends on the regulation of both active and reactive power, because the microgrid’s behaviour is mostly dominated by the bulk power system. Therefore, an optimal power control strategy is proposed in this thesis to improve the quality of the power supply in a microgrid scenario. This controller comprises an inner current control loop and an outer power control loop based on a synchronous reference frame and conventional PI regulators. The power control loop can operate in two modes: voltage-frequency power control mode and active-reactive power control mode. Particle Swarm Optimisation is an intelligent searching algorithm that is applied here for real-time self-tuning of the power control parameters. The voltage-frequency power controller is proposed for an inverter-based Distributed Generation unit in an autonomous operation mode. The results show satisfactory system voltage and frequency, high dynamic response, and an acceptable harmonic distortion level. The active-reactive power controller is adopted for an inverter-based Distributed Generation unit in a utility operation mode. This controller provides excellent regulation of the active and reactive power, in particular when load power has to be shared equally between the microgrid and utility. The voltage-frequency and active-reactive power control modes are used for a microgrid configured from two DG units in an autonomous operation mode. The proposed control strategy maintains the system voltage and frequency within acceptable limits, and injects sustained output power from one DG unit during a load change. The reliability of the system’s operation is investigated through developing a small-signal dynamic model for the microgrid. The results prove that the system was stable for the given operating point and under the proposed power controller. Consequently, this research reveals that the microgrid can successfully operate as a controllable power generation unit to support the utility, thus reducing the dependency on the bulk power system and increasing the market penetration of the micro-sources.

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