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The Marginal Cost to Automate the Wind Farm Grid-Intertie Substation

We have many sayings in the USA that come from our 17th century European roots. One of the sayings still heard today is: ‘penny-wise and pound-foolish’. We see a clear circumstance in which to use this old proverb in wind farm automation. Nearly all utility-scale wind farm management systems have state-of-the-art automatically controlled wind turbines, but at the electric grid-intertie, the substation is very often managed manually. It is true that some substations may have remote control capabilities, but they are still completely manually controlled, and require operator intervention for restoration. The real irony is that the cost of implementing a full auto-restoration scheme at a modern substation, with intelligent electronic protection devices, is likely to be only the lost revenue of one extended substation outage – truly ‘penny-wise and pound-foolish’ if not implemented.

By Larry D. Elliott PE, and Lawrence C. Gross, Jr PE, Relay Application Innovation Inc., USA .

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