Dynamic Reactive Power Compensation

Transitioning from conventional power sources to RE can reduce the grid reliability and system operating benefits provided by conventional power sources—such as active compensation with active and reactive power that effectively controls voltage and the spinning inertia from rotating turbines that prevents cascading events to affect grid reliability. However, technical and regulatory solutions like dynamic reactive power compensation (DRPC) can address the lost benefits

Objective: This USAID pilot tested if upgraded solar park inverter software and communication hardware could approximate the grid-balancing reactive and inertial response benefits provided by conventional power sources. Inverters connect solar parks to the electric grid by converting direct[1]current into alternating-current power

Activities: GTG-RISE implemented the DRPC pilot at the NP-Kunta solar park with support from POSOCO, National Load Dispatch Centre (NLDC), and the NTPC. Through grants from USAID, GTG-RISE deployed an aggregator software and enabled two-way communication to enable the DRPC demonstration. The pilot tested if national system operators could remotely control plant-level generation for steady state control of active and reactive power compensation and inertial response, collecting and analyzing response time and power quality data

Results: Results from the pilot demonstrated that inverters connecting solar plants to the grid could be adapted to provide synthetic reactive and inertial response—challenging conventional wisdom that solar plants cannot provide DRPC. However, this solution comes at the cost of energy, so updated regulatory frameworks are required to incentivize generators when RE reaches a critical share of the grid.

  • Inverters needs discussions as they will be critical to RE integration, so that frequency drops are regulated better and all stakeholders have to play together to maintain Grid Stability and reliability” – Pankaj Batra, Ex- Chairperson, CEA
  • “USAID’s GTG-RISE is collaborating with NTPC for a landmark pilot on AGC & DRPC at a solar plant. The learning from this pilot will be of tremendous significance for India’s grid operators to meet the challenge of balancing requirement and controlling variability. It’ll prove to be of great importance in deciding the future course of action.”- Rajiv Porwal, Chief General Manager at Power System Operation Corporation Ltd