This paper describes and assesses a decentralized solution based on a wireless sensor-actuator network to provide primary frequency control from demand response in power systems with high wind energy penetration and, subsequently, with relevant frequency excursions. The proposed system is able to modify the electrical power demand of a variety of thermostatically-controlled loads, maintaining minimum comfort levels and minimizing both infrastructure requirements and primary reserves from the supply side. This low-cost hardware solution avoids any additional wiring, extending the wireless sensor-actuator network technology towards small customers, which account for over a 30% share of the current power demand. Frequency excursions are collected by each individual load controller, considering not only the magnitude of the frequency deviation, but also their evolution over time. Based on these time-frequency excursion characteristics, controllers are capable of modifying the power consumption of thermostatically-controlled loads by switching them off and on, thus contributing to primary frequency control in power systems with higher generation unit oscillations as a consequence of relevant wind power integration. Field tests have been carried out in a laboratory environment to assess the load controller performance, as well as to evaluate the electrical and thermal response of individual loads under frequency deviations. These frequency deviations are estimated from power systems with a high penetration of wind energy, which are more sensitive to frequency oscillations and where demand response can significantly contribute to mitigate these frequency excursions. The results, also included in the paper, evaluate the suitability of the proposed load controllers and their suitability to decrease frequency excursions from the demand side in a decentralized manner.
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