Real-Time Digital Simulation of Inertial Response with Hardware-in-the-Loop Implementation on the CART3 Wind Turbine at the National Wind Technology Center

Eduard Muljadi, Vahan Gevorgian, Wenzhong Gao, Xiao Wang, Andrew Scholbrock

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


With increasing penetrations of wind power on electric grids, the stability and reliability of interconnected power systems may be impacted. In some countries that have developed renewable energy sources and systems, grid codes have been revised to require wind power plants (WPPs) to provide ancillary services to support the power system frequency in case of severe grid events. To do this, wind turbine generators (WTGs) should be deloaded to reserve a certain amount of active power for primary frequency response; however, deloading curtails annual energy production, and the market for this type of service needs to be further developed. In this report, we focus on the temporary frequency support provided by WTGs through inertial response. WTGs have potential to provide inertial response, but appropriate control methods should be implemented. With the implemented inertial control methods, wind turbines are capable of increasing their active power output by releasing some of their stored kinetic energy when a frequency excursion occurs. Active power can be temporarily boosted above the maximum power points, after which the rotor speed decelerates, and subsequently an active power output reduction restores the kinetic energy. In this report, we develop two types of models for wind power systems: the first is common, based on the wind power aerodynamic equation, and the power coefficient can be regressed using nonlinear functions; the second is much more complicated, wherein the wind turbine system is modeled using the Fatigue, Aerodynamics, Structures, and Turbulence Modeling (FAST) tool with several degrees of freedoms. A nine-bus test power system is built in Simulink and the Real-Time Digital Simulator, respectively, which are used to evaluate the frequency support performance of the WPPs. We implement two distinct types of inertial control methods in the modeled wind turbines: frequency-based inertial control (FBIC) and stepwise inertial control (SIC). We compare the performances of the two methods in terms of their frequency nadirs, rates of change of frequency, and recovery times. We conclude the results under various wind speeds and penetration cases, which provide insight into designing the inertial response of WTGs. Further, we discuss the impact of the parameters on the performance of the inertial control methods. We evaluate both the scaling factors for the FBIC method and the slope values for the TLIC methods. The simulation work shows the characteristics of different inertial responses compared to conventional synchronous generators. Based on the simulation results, we modify, improve, and test the inertial control methods under a more realistic wind turbine model based on FAST. We then validate the inertial responses under highly turbulent wind conditions generated by TurbSim, and we examine their influences on the turbine mechanical components. The extensive simulation proves the effectiveness of the proposed inertial control methods as well as the nine-bus test power system. We then reconsider the parameters. We rebuild the same test power system using Real time Simulator Computer Aided Design (RSCAD), and we implement the inertial control methods in the real Controls Advanced Research Turbine (CART3), which is prepared for the hardware-in-the-loop field-test simulation. After the setups for the hardware and software hybrid simulation platform are complete, the inertial response is further tested on a real wind turbine for the first time, in which CART3 release the controlled inertial response against the emulated frequency excursion, provided by the real-time simulated power system test bed in RTDS.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages45
StatePublished - 2017

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5D00-68137


  • CART3
  • inertial response
  • National Wind Technology Center


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