Renewables certification company DNV GL has opened a control hardware-in-the-loop (CHIL) test facility for renewable energy generation plants. The facility connects physical power plant controllers to a real-time simulator, allowing the controller to be fully tested and validated without the need for an actual generation facility or power grid.
According to DNV GL, this enables cost-effective, low-risk testing under realistic conditions for all forms of renewable energy control systems.
Since 2016, the company explains, Germany has updated its medium- and high-voltage grid codes to require certification of all wind farm controllers before the wind farm can start supplying the grid. Similar guidelines are expected to follow elsewhere in the world, both nationally and internationally.
In the CHIL test bench, the physical controller is connected to a real-time simulator that emulates the wind farm, solar farm, biomass plant, etc., as well as the grid connection. Furthermore, a communication layer is included for the master SCADA, simulating the grid operator. This setup allows the controller’s behavior in any situation it may face in service to be explored and any unwanted interactions to be identified, says DNV GL.
“Until now, testing controllers meant downtime for the generation farm and huge effort coordinating many different players,” says Andreas Schröter, executive vice president for Central Europe and the Mediterranean at DNV GL. “What’s more, a failure during testing could have far-reaching and expensive consequences. In line with our power cybernetics approach, the new CHIL test bench significantly reduces the cost, risk and effort required to comprehensively test control systems for renewable energy generation farms. Besides streamlining certification, the test bench can be used to validate new functionality during development and set up controllers for individual generation sites.”
According to DNV GL, the test bench allows complete testing according to the latest revisions of the German grid codes. DNV GL will make it available for customers such as controller manufacturers and renewable energy generation site developers and operators.
DNV GL says the CHIL testing is provided in the company’s Arnhem, Netherlands, office but is open for international customers.