Dynamic control of grid power flow using controllable network transformers
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The objective of the research is to develop a cost-effective, dynamic grid controller called the controllable network transformer (CNT) that can be implemented by augmenting existing load tap changing (LTC) transformers with an AC-AC converter. The concept is based on using a fractionally rated direct AC-AC converter to control the power through an existing passive LTC. By using a modulation strategy based on virtual quadrature sources (VQS), it is possible to control both the magnitude and the phase angle of the output voltage of the CNT without having any inter-phase connections. The CNT architecture has many advantages over existing power flow controllers, like absence of low frequency storage, fractional converter rating, retro-fitting existing assets and independent per-phase operation making it potentially attractive for utility applications. The independent control of the magnitude and the phase angle of the output voltage allow independent real and reactive power flow control through the CNT-controlled line. In a meshed network with asymmetric network stresses this functionality can be used to redirect power from critically loaded assets to other relatively under-utilized parallel paths. The power flow controllability of CNT can thus be used to lower the overall cost of generation of power. The solid state switches in the CNT with fast response capability enable incorporation of various additional critical functionalities like grid fault ride through, bypassing internal faults and dynamic damping. This bouquet of features makes the CNT useful under both steady state and transient conditions without compromising the grid reliability.