This is the second in a series of blogs on the changing needs for Smart Grid validation using testing and laboratory requirements.
In last week’s blog, I discussed the interrelations between system studies, consultancy, and testing. Today, I will discuss the development of in-house testing and emerging distributed testing. Remember that the main goal of validation (testing) is to de-risk a component, system or technology for its intended purpose in a ‘risk-free’ environment before installing it in the real world.
Direction 2: The development of in-house testing and emerging distributed testing
A future in-house component test facility will do fewer tests, some will be virtual or done in the modeling, simulation, and gaming environment, but two types of tests are still needed. The performance and integrity testing of the design, ’does it work as intended?’ and the interaction / integration test with the power system in order to validate the correct functioning of the interfaces, including control and protection.
Future test facilities can also ’play back’ recorded disturbances occurred in the grid and effects can be analyzed in a saved environment. Also, real time grid measurements of load and generation can be transferred to the test facility and converted to real ’power and load’ where its effects and interactions can be studied with test objects. In using actual measurements, it becomes possible to study human behavior and its effect on the power system.
Distributed testing capabilities are needed for several reasons. First, because more and more equipment will become interconnected and controlled by information technology, e.g. many small PV power plants operating together in a virtual power plant (VPP), the charging of a fleet of electric vehicles (EV), active demand (AD) control of many electric appliances. Second, because different laboratory facilities, with their own specializations, can be effectively combined to integrally cover the multi-level, multi-actor approach for actual power system situations with its various timescales (long term stability – control actions – transients).
For this reason, the distributed test infrastructure consists of a number of laboratories working together and as a whole covering all the test layers ranging from systems of big DER equipment to VPP / EV / AD controllable generation and loads down to microgrids. The connected facilities are equipped with power ’hardware’ testing equipment, a real time – real power simulator, sensors, and communication with the power system to allow interaction.
In summary, the challenge of future in house and distributed testing for Smart Grids will be the ability to test individual or aggregated equipment and its interaction with the power system, and the possibility to perform and witness tests from everywhere in the world within a joint infrastructure.
By: Peter Vaessen
Make sure you check in next Tuesday (11/1/11) for the next blog in the Smart Grid validation, testing, and labratory requirements blog series on simulation, serious gaming, and virtual testing.