Instantaneous balance between power generation and demand is a requirement for power grid stability. With increasing use of distributed and intermittent renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power, traditional control paradigm of power generation following demand has to be changed. Power demand must follow the dynamically changing power generation. Inspired by the Hooke's law for mechanical springs, the concept of "electric springs" was developed recently with an aim to ensure secure operation of future power grids. Electric springs are expected to facilitate integration of intermittent renewable energy sources which are interfaced to the power grid through power electronic converters. In the first part of this talk, Professor Ron Hui would introduce the basic concept of electric springs and discuss the motivation behind it. He would describe the proof-of-concept experiments carried out using bench-scale prototype of electric springs to show their potential. He would summarize the recent research activities, planned field trials and potential role of electric springs in smart grids. In the second part of this talk, Dr Balarko Chaudhuri would discuss the future challenges facing the system operators in Great Britain due to the anticipated reduction in system inertia and short circuit level. In this context, the role of electric springs in grid frequency regulation and distributed voltage control will be described at a system level. Two possible configurations of electric springs would be compared in terms of their effectiveness in dealing with under- and over-voltage/frequency problems. The talk will conclude by highlighting the technical challenges towards exploiting the full capability of electric springs which would require collaborative research between experts in control theory, power electronics and power systems.
Ron Hui is a Chair Professor of Power Electronics at the University of Hong Kong and Imperial College London. He received his Ph.D at Imperial College in 1987 and has previously held academic positions at the University of Nottingham and University of Sydney. He has published over 200 refereed journal papers, mainly in the IEEE Transactions. Over 60 of his patents have been adopted by industry. His inventions on wireless power underpin key features of the world's first wireless charging standard "Qi", launched in 2010 by the Wireless Power Consortium (comprising over 210 companies worldwide). He serves as an Editor and Associate Editors of three IEEE Transactions. He is the recipient of the 2010 Rudolf Chope R&D Award, 2010 IET Achievement (Crompton) Medal and the 2015 IEEE William E. Newell Power Electronics Award (by the IEEE Awards Board). He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering.
Balarko Chaudhuri is a senior lecturer in the control and power research group at the department of electrical and electronic engineering at Imperial College London. His area of interest is power system dynamics, stability and control. Since completing his PhD from Imperial College London in 2005, he has been involved in several research projects on stability and control of power grids funded by the research council in the UK, the manufacturers (ABB etc.) and utilities (National Grid, UK etc.). He has acted as an external consultant for Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), USA and National Grid, UK. He has served on consultation committees including the Grid code subgroup for Offshore Electricity Transmission responsible for recommendations to the UK regulator (Ofgem) and government. Dr Chaudhuri has published over 75 research papers in IEEE Transactions, IET Proceedings and leading international conferences. He has co-authored two monographs on Robust Control in Power Systems (Springer) and Multi-terminal DC Grids – Modelling, Analysis and Control (Wiley-IEEE). He is an Associate Editor of IEEE Systems Journal and Elsevier Control Engineering Practice and has acted as the guest editor for IET proceedings – Generation, Transmission and Distribution.