21 July 2009
Working to offset wind fluctuations
A huge challenge of large-scale wind integration is variability and uncertainty of wind energy resources.
That is where David Wenzhong Gao, assistant electrical and computing engineering professor at Tennessee Tech University (TTU), comes in as he and his team want to model, simulate, and analyze new ways to counteract wind fluctuation with energy storage and associated controls.
The goal is to create multi-level storage made up of plug-and-play energy storage modules at different levels of a wind power system—at the levels of balancing the control center, wind power plant, and wind turbine generator. Gao’s team earned $265,000 in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for the two-year project to come up with a new system.
The modular storage design will include technologies in which TTU has research experience, including lithium ion batteries, ultra-capacitors, and fuel cells. They plan to model, simulate, and analyze the storage systems in the lab, create a prototype, and hold field verification at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and wind power plants.
One potential demonstration site, the Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) Buffalo Mountain Wind Power Plant, is one of the nation’s earliest wind farms.
“Successful completion of this project will accelerate future wind power growth and help the Department of Energy overcome technical challenges associated with the ‘20 Percent Wind by 2030’ goal,” said Gao who has played a lead role in developing the TVA Power Relay Lab at Tennessee Tech and directs the Electric Transportation and Power Systems Laboratory.
“Wind energy will be a critical factor in achieving the president’s goals for clean energy while supporting new jobs,” said DOE Secretary Steven Chu.
For related information, go to www.isa.org/manufacturing_automation.