Challenges of wind power

We’ve received a lot of connection enquiries for wind farm installations in Tasmania following the commissioning of the Woolnorth Wind Farm in north-west Tasmania in May 2007. A detailed study of wind generation in the Tasmanian system conducted from May 2008 to May 2009 as part of our Grid Vision program found that wind generation is more difficult to integrate into the Tasmanian system than conventional generation.

This is due to a number of technical issues, including the variability of wind generation, reduced levels of frequency control ancillary services (FCAS), reductions in voltage control capability and power quality problems. We also found that some wind turbines could not ‘ride through’ network faults and because wind farms tend to be located in more remote areas they’re often connected into the weaker parts of the network.

The opportunity for future wind farms to be developed in the Midlands and Central Highlands close to the main 220 kV transmission ‘backbone’ has been enhanced because construction of the new 220 kV double circuit between Waddamana to Lindisfarne Substation has provided a more robust connection point.

With new frequency operating standards now in place in Tasmania, the study found that the increasing level of wind generation in the State would have a negative impact on the undersea electricity connector, Basslink, reducing its import capability. However, the reduction would be significantly less than the increase in wind generation, so total energy supply capability would be increased.

These issues can be overcome but they will require a significant investment in mitigation measures.