Fraunhofer IWES, ABB Develop Mobile Grid Simulator to Test Wind, Solar Equipment

Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy Systems, (IWES), is working with ABB to create a large mobile grid simulation as part of the Mobil-Grid-CoP program. This project is funded publicly by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action. It will be used to evaluate the safety and reliability for renewable energy equipment in real-world situations. The test program will verify that any renewable project connecting to a power grid is fully compliant and will not compromise the grid’s stability or performance.

ABB’s ACS6080 Power Electronics Grid Simulator is used to create a mobile grid simulator. Fraunhofer IWES, Germany’s leading research and testing center for wind energy and energy system technology will use the system to simulate various grid operating modes, including fault conditions. It will also validate compliance with all standards. The mobile capability will allow testing of the increasing number of offshore turbines, as well as other test procedures.

Its modular, flexible design allows for almost unlimited configuration possibilities. In addition to its practical testing application, the mobile simulator will play an important role in research and development, particularly for various “grid-of-the-future” scenarios.

“We need to ensure that power grids maintain total stability and performance while integrating ever increasing amounts of intermittent renewables like wind and solar,” says Gesa Quistorf, group manager of power electronics and grid integration at Fraunhofer IWES. “Our new mobile grid simulator will play a vital role in accelerating this program, as we will be able to provide compliance testing for the ever-increasing number of large offshore turbines that are pushing current test facilities to their limits. In addition, it is prepared for testing low-frequency high-voltage AC railway applications.”

“As part of our drive towards a low-carbon society, increasing the availability of renewable energy equipment for use within the power grid is key,” states Chris Poynter, division president of ABB System Drives. “We also need to establish how to operate this equipment as safely, reliably and of course, energy efficiently as possible – this is where the extensive testing capabilities of the mobile grid simulator will add huge value.”

The world’s largest mobile grid simulator will go into operation in 2023. It will be able to generate power up to 28 megavolt amperes (MVA) and have a short-term capability of up 80 MVA. It can also operate as two independent units with 14 MVA for additional flexibility. ABB will provide a complete package solution, which includes the PEGS technology as well as transformers and filters, ehouses, cooling equipment, power and auxiliary distributor equipment.