Wind Power Grid Integration Modeling
Project Lead: Rorik Peterson
Kodiak Electric Association (KEA) serves the community of Kodiak, Alaska and is a grid isolated utility with generation including a combination of diesel engines and hydropower. KEA is also constructing a wind farm on nearby Pillar Mountain, which will include the installation of three General Electric (GE) 1.5 MW SLE wind turbines in 2009. These turbines will be the first large-scale megawatt sized wind turbines installed in Alaska.
This project presents a number of challenges unique to Alaska. One problem common to all wind projects in the state is that Alaska’s isolated electric grids limit the amount of wind that can be used as part of the generation mix. This is because wind power, unlike diesel generators, is a fluctuating power source making it difficult to maintain overall grid stability and power quality if too much wind is installed.
ACEP has teamed with Sandia National Laboratory to model the KEA grid and develop a plan for integrating energy storage options that would allow additional wind turbines to be installed in the future. Once developed, this model can be adjusted to apply to other Alaskan rural communities with existing or planned wind projects. The goal is to optimize the balance between wind and diesel generators, and if feasible, to incorporate a small amount of energy storage to allow for more seamless integration between power sources. Ultimately, this modeling and system optimization effort could result in a significant reduction in diesel fuel used in those communities.
In the future, KEA is hoping to install as much as 9MW of wind power on their grid, but this will require incorporating both short term (like advanced battery technologies or flywheels) and long term energy storage (such as pumped hydro).
View of the community of Kodiak from the Pillar Mountain wind site.