Powering Through Future Challenges

Increasingly, where there is a platform to discuss technical issues in the power industry, you will find a WSP voice challenging the status quo, introducing ideas and leading the charge.

In two recent industry events, Winodh Jayewardene, Technical Executive of Network Connections & Performance, has demonstrated the firm’s leadership in anticipating trends and addressing contemporary issues impacting our clients.


He believes that responsible and proactive solutions are crucial for ensuring low cost and reliable power to consumers as our connected communities depend on the future reliability of the grid.


Finding Efficient Connections for the Future

As part of our involvement in this year’s Clean Energy Council’s Wind Industry Forum, which saw us sponsor the coffee cart, Winodh shared valuable lessons learnt following recent changes to the rules that govern connection to the power system. He chaired a panel session featuring Rachael Cox from Pacific Hydro, Dennis Freedman from AusNet services and Rajesh Aurora from AECOM. Together they discussed topics such as generator connection requirements, system strength and risks to both projects as well as the wider power system


“As we aim to integrate 50 GW to 100 GW of new generation, grid connection remains one of the major hurdles to project development,” explains Winodh. “By encouraging more OEMs to enter the large-scale generation market, we can drive down prices; yet this requires us to reduce the barriers to entry. On the small-scale generation front, we have around 1,000 inverters on the CEC accredited inverter list which will be connecting either small scale solar or constitute Virtual Power Plants (VPPs) resulting in many challenges to the industry. Put simply, if we want to integrate 50 GW or 100 GW of renewables efficiently, we need to find a better way. We can’t keep connecting projects the way we always have.”


“Australia has overcome some unique challenges in managing the rapidly changing generation mix on one of the largest interconnected power systems in the world, and while the industry has learnt a lot over the last couple of years, there is room for improvement.


 “As a firm, we continue to work alongside our clients to explore ideas, offer tangible solutions and improve knowledge sharing on grid connection aspects in a bid to minimise project risk.


Preparing for a New Paradigm 

In late March, Winodh spoke to an audience of engineers, technicians, network specialists and operations and maintenance staff at the CIGRE SEAPAC Conference (the South-East Asia Protection, Automation and Control Conference) that was held in Sydney. Exploring the world of changing generation mix and its impact, attendees joined Winodh as he discussed the new challenges clients are facing as a result of asynchronous generation. 


“Stability, in the traditional sense, has focused on electro-mechanical characteristics. With the advent of modern inverter connected plants, this concept is no longer applicable and requires a paradigm shift to consider the impact of inverter controls on power system stability,” explains Winodh.


“Being ready for the future means being aware of the challenges new technologies bring. In this case, we need to have a robust protection scheme in place to ensure safe and reliable operation of the power system.”


More information can be found in the conference paper, Winodh authored alongside Kevin Tu and Hesam Marzooghi titled, ‘A New Paradigm for Power System Stability Protection with Asynchronous Generation’.


For more information, contact Winodh Jayewardene


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