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As the world’s energy reserves continue to wane, there is an ongoing shift towards the use of renewable energy sources. Concurrently, developments in advanced electric power systems (EPS), more commonly known as smart grids, are catching the eye of utility and power companies worldwide. Using two-way digital communication technology, smart grids can generate and distribute sustainable, economic and secure energy supplies.
In response to advances in EPSs, an increasing number of renewable energy-based resource installations are taking place. As these installations occur, it is critical to ensure that these systems are properly engineered in accordance with relevant performance standards such as IEEE 1547.
IEEE 1547 was established to provide a standard set of requirements to address key issues such as voltage regulation, synchronization and isolation, the handling of abnormal grid conditions, and power quality, among others.
However, the testing and validation of individual components within an EPS is no longer sufficient. In order to mitigate the associated operational risks of complex grids under dynamic situations, the testing must now encompass the entire system. Thus, there is considerable potential to reduce the time frame required for running such compliance tests by automating portions of the testing process using hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) simulation.
The use of HIL in combining simulation with hardware experimentation is crucial in validating complex electric power systems in real-time. The technical integration of advanced EPSs will have a progressively more profound impact on grid stability, reliability, and availability as the penetration of renewable distributed energy resources increases. These developments will have more and more utility companies utilizing the simulation and testing benefits HIL has to offer.