Power electronics technology

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With the increase in electricity demand worldwide, the use of new advanced power management concept and devices has become key for many grid operators and electricity suppliers. ON the one hand, power generation has to be integrated in demand-driven networks with a high degree of quality and reliability, including stable supply voltage and frequency in any conditions. ON the other hand, increasingly stricter requirements and optimization of existing electricity transport and distribution infrastructures is also required, and is quickly developing into new concepts such as advanced grid support, smart grid and electricity storage.

The most efficient way to tackle these problems is by using power electronics equipment, which is mainly the use of electronic devices of a significantly bigger scale than those used for appliances, in order to be able to deal with much larger capacities. In this sense, some 30% of all power generated uses nowadays power electronics somewhere between the point of generation and its end use, but this figure will grow dramatically to nearly 80% by 2030.

Furthermore, the increasing penetration of renewable power generation in the electricity systems worldwide is the only adequate response to the growing challenges regarding security of supply and reduced foreign energy dependency, as well as to the needs of an environmentally friendly generation mix that adequately tackles climate change and squandering fossil resources. Accordingly, renewable sourced electricity accounts nowadays for the largest growth in power plants worldwide.

However, a higher penetration of intrinsically intermittent sources such as wind or solar energy poses also significant challenges for grid stability and electricity supply management in order to achieve a sustained, high quality supply. Some important issues associated to this being addressed at present are low and over- voltage ride through (LVRT and OVRT), reactive power support, frequency control and supply stability.