Power System Hardware in the Loop (PSHIL): A Holistic Testing Approach for Smart Grid Technologies
2. PSHIL Architecture
2.1. Real-Time Simulated Power System
2.2. Physical Power System
2.3. Power Supply
- External network. This is the most cost-effective option to supply the PSHIL platform since only a connection with an available external network is required. This usually corresponds to a node of the laboratory network in case of scaled-down distribution systems. The rated power and voltage depend on the characteristic of this connection node. This, however, has limited flexibility, as the PSHIL voltage and frequency are mainly imposed by the laboratory network. Therefore, intentional events such as voltage and frequency disturbances required for testing the provision of ancillary services [21,22,23] cannot be reproduced in a straightforward manner. This option, however, is adequate for analyzing the interaction of different DUTs and the power system in quasi-steady-state conditions [24,25,26,27].
- Synchronous generator. In this case, a synchronous generator driven by a primary energy source (steam/hydraulic turbine, diesel motor, DC machine or induction motor fed with a variable speed drive) provides the power to the network . Note that without a connection to an external network, the physical environment is operated in islanded mode. This endows the system with greater flexibility because it should be possible to reproduce frequency and voltage disturbances. Moreover, with the adequate control actions on those prime movers based on electrical machines (DC machine or induction motor fed with a variable speed drive), it should be possible to reproduce the dynamic behavior of any actual generator driven by a hydraulic/steam turbine or diesel motor without any complex auxiliary systems .
- Controllable voltage source. This is the power-electronic counterpart of the synchronous generator where the mechanically coupled rotating machines are substituted by two voltage-source converters (VSCs) in a back-to-back configuration. This allows a total controlability of the output voltage with really fast dynamics. Note also that controllable voltage sources are an indispensable component for interfacing the real-time simulated with the physical network if required. The main drawback of these devices is the high cost, especially for those that are based on linear technology.
- Actual renewable generators. This type of power supply, including photovoltaic and wind generators, provides realism to the testing. Its main drawback, however, refers to the impossibility of controlling the primary energy source, which considerably limits the replicability of the testing conditions.
- Passive elements. These are elements with no control capability to change their operating states according to setpoints. Resistors, inductors, and capacitors are within this group. The main advantage of these elements is that they are inexpensive, but at the cost of providing a limited flexibility, which may limit the testing scenarios.
- Active elements. This kind of load allows controlling the power demand according to setpoints, with adapting the testing scenarios according to the user needs being possible. Moreover, this capability allows reproducing the daily load profiles of different customer types (domestic, commercial, and industrial loads). Commercial electronic loads or VSCs supplied from the DC side with an external DC source may act as a controllable active element. The main drawback, however, is that they are complex devices involving different technologies like power electronics and control and communication systems.
2.5. Devices and Algorithms under Test—DUTs and AUTs
2.6. PSHIL Management
- Local controllers. The first control layer consists of the different LCs associated with each element, i.e., loads, generators, or DUTs. The objective of each LC is to guarantee that the corresponding device follows specific setpoints during the tests, which are sent by the centralized PSHIL management. Additionally, LCs are in charge of monitoring and protecting the controlled device.
- Centralized PSHIL management. This layer is in charge of several tasks, which can be broadly classified into two main categories : off-line and on-line tasks. On the one hand, off-line tasks are devoted to configuring the testing scenario by: (i) adjusting the topology and parameters of the networks; (ii) defining the operation of loads and generators; and (iii) setting the functionalities of DUTs and AUTs. On the other hand, online tasks are committed to controlling and supervising the tests. Control tasks are required to send to the different LCs the adequate setpoints according to the defined testing scenario. Note that some of these setpoints are defined by the offline tasks, e.g., active power demand of a load, but other ones can be determined in real-time by the AUT, e.g., optimal reactive power of a distributed generator. In any case, all of these setpoints are managed by this centralized management layer. In turn, supervision tasks are in charge of monitoring the relevant electrical magnitudes with a twofold objective: guaranteeing the safe operation of all of the physical components (network, loads, generators, and DUTs) and gathering all of the required measurements. These measurements are provided to the AUTs, which may use them to compute the DUT setpoints, but are also stored for later analysis.
2.7. Energy Management
3. PSHIL Benefits
- Simultaneous testing of different DUTs considering their mutual interaction through the real-time simulated or actual power system.
- Simultaneous testing of DUTs and AUTs, which analyzing the performance of closed control loop actions in real conditions.
- Simultaneous testing of different technologies such as power electronics, control software, communication infrastructure, etc., which may interact each other.
- Power-system-oriented testing capability in addition to the classical device-oriented approach.
4. PSHIL Infrastructure at the University of Sevilla
- Real-time simulated network. OPAL-RT is available for simulating in real-time any transmission or distribution network.
- Physical electrical network. The PSHIL infrastructure has a scaled-down version of the MV distribution network proposed by the CIGRE Task Force C06.04.02 for the analysis of the distributed generation . This physical system, whose one-line diagram is shown in Figure 5, is fully described in . Basically, it is composed of two feeders with 14 nodes where different loads, generators, and DUTs can be connected. The lines between the different nodes are emulated using their corresponding lumped resistive and inductive parameters. This physical system is rated to 400 V and 100 kVA at the head of the feeders.
- Power supply. Three different possibilities are available: laboratory LV network, synchronous generators, and power amplifier. The laboratory LV network, 400 V and 100 kVA, is the common option for the grid-connected analysis of the network under study. For those tests where a precise control of the supply voltage is required, a Regatron TC.ACS power amplifier shown in Figure 6a, 400 V and 50 kVA, is used. This power amplifier can also be connected to the OPAL-RT platform for interfacing a DUT. The synchronous generators shown in Figure 6b, 3 units rated to 400 V and 15 kVA, can be used for testing the network in islanded conditions. In this case, the synchronous generators are driven by induction motors fed with a variable speed drive.
- Loads. The PSHIL infrastructure is equipped with active loads able to change their operating point (active and reactive powers) according to an external reference provided by the management layer. The active loads are based on the Omnimode Load Emulator (OLE) concept . Basically, an OLE is composed pf a controlled VSC that is connected to a node of the scaled-down distribution network in its AC side. Additionally, the DC side is connected to a common DC bus that is controlled by an additional VSC in charge of providing the required active power of each OLE connected to the DC bus. Note that the OLEs can be used for emulating loads or generators, and the balanced VSC, which is connected to the laboratory LV grid, has to provide just the net power injected to the physical scaled-down distribution network. Each individual OLE, shown in Figure 6c, is based on a two-level VSC that is controlled following a classical PI approach in dq coordinates . All of the OLEs are rated to 400V and 20 kVA, while the balanced VSC in charge of regulating the DC bus voltage is rated to 400 V and 100 kVA. The OLEs are connected to the buses N3, N5, N6, N7, N8, N9, N10, and N14.
- DUTs. Two DUTs are so far available to be tested in this PSHIL infrastructure. First, a DC link between the nodes N8 and N14 for controlling the active power transfer between the feeders and also the reactive power injections at these nodes as shown in Figure 5. The DC link is rated to 400 V and 20 kVA. Second, a static OLTC based on thyristor technology coupled to a V transformer installed at the connection point with the laboratory network, which allows regulating the supply voltage on load. In addition, it is important to highlight that the design of this PSHIL infrastructure is quite flexible, being possible to incorporate also as DUT some of the already analyzed OLEs, or any other device. In fact,  analyzes the minimization of power losses (AUT) in the scaled-down distribution system using the static OLTC, the DC link, and the reactive power injections of some distributed generators emulated with the OLEs.
- PSHIL management. It has been implemented in a real-time platform provided by SpeedGoat. Particularly, this management system provides a bidirectional communication channel with the OLEs, DUTs, and AUTs by means of an UDP/IP communication protocol. The time latency with the local controllers of OLEs and DUTs is in the range of hundreds of microseconds, while the characteristic latency of AUTs depends on the algorithm but are in the range of minutes.
5. PSHIL Example of Application
5.1. PSHIL Infrastructure Used in the Application Example
5.2. PSHIL Test Cases
- PSHIL MV and LV network coupling (PSHIL-1). This test case evaluates the performance of the DUT in charge of interfacing the physical network and the real-time simulated network. This corresponds to the OLE connected to bus N14 of the physical system.
- PSHIL MV control assets (PSHIL-2). The MV network DUTs (DERs, OLTC, and DC Link) are added to the previous case with setpoints computed by an AUT based on an OPF to minimize power losses. In addition to the assessment of each individual DUT, this case is focused on the impact of MV control assets to both MV and LV networks.
- PSHIL MV/LV control assets (PSHIL-3). This case adds to the previous case the voltage control on the LV network using a local reactive power droop strategy. Therefore, it should be possible to evaluate how the LV network control assets react with the MV and LV network changes.
5.3. PSHIL Experimental Results
5.3.1. PSHIL-1 Results
5.3.2. PSHIL-2 Results
- OLTC. Figure 12a shows the 24-h OLTC tap position and the voltage of bus N3. The tap position is maintained most of the time in the lowest position in order to increase the MV voltages to reduce the power losses as much as possible. However, the tap is changed to its central position during the period when the DER injects the maximum power to fulfill the maximum voltage constraint imposed by the OPF (1.05 pu).
- DERs. The reactive power injections of DERs connected to buses N3 and N10 are depicted in Figure 12b. These show a proper tracking of the setpoints computed by the AUT. Note that the reactive power injection in bus N10 is higher that in bus N3 because of the electrical distance. This bus is farther away from the initial node of the MV scaled-down network and, therefore, experiences a larger voltage drop caused by the loads. This requires a higher reactive power injection to maintain the voltages as high as possible.
- DC link. The 24-h active and reactive power flows through the DC link are depicted in Figure 12c and Figure 12d, respectively. The setpoints computed by the AUT are tracked without errors by the DC link. Both DC-link sides inject reactive power to their corresponding connection nodes to increase the voltages locally. In addition, the DC link transfers active power from N8 to N14 around noon when the PV generation injects the maximum power. The opposite situation happens in the rest of the day, where the DC link acts to equalize the load of each MV scaled-down distribution feeder to reduce the active power losses as much as possible.
5.3.3. PSHIL-3 Results
Conflicts of Interest
|AUT||Algorithm Under Test|
|DER||Distributed Energy Resource|
|DUT||Device Under Test|
|FACTS||Flexible AC Transmission System|
|OLE||Omnimode Load Emulator|
|OPF||Optimal Power Flow|
|POI||Point of Interconnection|
|RTCS||Real-Time Control System|
|VSC||Voltage Source Converter|
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|AUT & DUT||•||•|
|Node||Generation (kW)||Load (kW)|
|Generation (kW)||Load (kW)|
|DUT/AUT||Case PSHIL-1||Case PSHIL-2||Case PSHIL-3|
|MV/LV network interconnection||•||•||•|
|MV DER reactive power||•||•|
|LV PV reactive power||•|
|Current control (DER, DC link)||•||•|
|Reactive power control (DER, DC link)||•||•|
|Active Power control (DC link)||•||•|
|OLTC tap Control||•||•|
|OPF for MV power losses minimization||•||•|
|Local droop for LV voltage control||•|
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Barragán-Villarejo, M.; García-López, F.d.P.; Marano-Marcolini, A.; Maza-Ortega, J.M. Power System Hardware in the Loop (PSHIL): A Holistic Testing Approach for Smart Grid Technologies. Energies 2020, 13, 3858. https://doi.org/10.3390/en13153858
Barragán-Villarejo M, García-López FdP, Marano-Marcolini A, Maza-Ortega JM. Power System Hardware in the Loop (PSHIL): A Holistic Testing Approach for Smart Grid Technologies. Energies. 2020; 13(15):3858. https://doi.org/10.3390/en13153858Chicago/Turabian Style
Barragán-Villarejo, Manuel, Francisco de Paula García-López, Alejandro Marano-Marcolini, and José María Maza-Ortega. 2020. "Power System Hardware in the Loop (PSHIL): A Holistic Testing Approach for Smart Grid Technologies" Energies 13, no. 15: 3858. https://doi.org/10.3390/en13153858