Frequency control support of a wind-solar isolated system by a hydropower plant with long tail-race tunnel


Increasing wind and solar penetration in an island with a pumped storage hydro plant.

Modelling a long tail-race tunnel hydro plant in an isolated system.

A lumped parameter reduced order model for dynamic response analysis is used.

Assessment of several tuning criteria for a PI governor based on root locus.

Wind-solar hydro system performance is within grid code requirements.


Pumped storage hydro plants (PSHP) can provide adequate energy storage and frequency regulation capacities in isolated power systems having significant renewable energy resources. Due to its high wind and solar potential, several plans have been developed for La Palma Island in the Canary archipelago, aimed at increasing the penetration of these energy sources. In this paper, the performance of the frequency control of La Palma power system is assessed, when the demand is supplied by the available wind and solar generation with the support of a PSHP which has been predesigned for this purpose. The frequency regulation is provided exclusively by the PSHP. Due to topographic and environmental constraints, this plant has a long tail-race tunnel without a surge tank. In this configuration, the effects of pressure waves cannot be neglected and, therefore, usual recommendations for PID governor tuning provide poor performance. A PI governor tuning criterion is proposed for the hydro plant and compared with other criteria according to several performance indices. Several scenarios considering solar and wind energy penetration have been simulated to check the plant response using the proposed criterion. This tuning of the PI governor maintains La Palma system frequency within grid code requirements.


  • Wind-solar-hydro systems;
  • Pumped hydro storage system;
  • Long tail-race tunnel;
  • Speed governor tuning;
  • Pole placement method;
  • Root locus plot

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