Neoenergia's pioneering research will generate improvements in the implementation of wind and solar parks in Brazil







equipment-responsibility-harmonica R&D Project has the potential for changing sector's regulatory framework



A pioneer project, financed by Neoenergia  through the Company's Research and Development (R&D) program in final phase of execution. The initiative refers to the practical deployment of a methodology for establishing the so-called sharing of harmonic responsibilities in the electric networks. The result is a potential reduction in the cost of implementing new renewable generation projects, translating into benefits for the consumer. Thus, new regulatory frameworks can be established so as to define rules for the use of this methodology in the sector, contributing towards maintaining the quality of electric energy.

The equipment being developed will enable the fair and clear division of costs inherent in the process of connecting wind farms and solar farms to the Brazilian grid. The device underwent tests at Neoenergia's Calangos wind complex, located in Rio Grande do Norte, so as to validate the methodology's application in the field.

The project is a result of Neoenergia's R&D program, regulated by the National Electric Energy Agency (Aneel), and is expected to be concluded in the second half of 2021 with a workshop aiming to bring to the sector the discussion about the potential impacts caused by the initiative. The project execution is a partnership between Neoenergia, the Federal University of Uberlândia (UFU), and GE Grid Solutions.

"This work brings an important contribution to the electricity sector, as it validates a methodology and establishes parameters to determine those responsible for improving and maintaining the energy quality concerning harmonic distortions. With this, Neoenergia has once again proven to be aligned with the sector's environment of innovation, improvement and continuous development," says José Antonio Brito, Neoenergia's Research and Development corporate manager.

How it works

For a better understanding of the project's goals, it is necessary to understand that voltage and current signals in electrical systems need to meet certain quality criteria. However, distortions in these parameters, which are known as harmonic distortions, are common - arising when the voltage and/or current waveforms differ from the expected sinusoidal pattern.

By regulation, power generation companies, transmission companies, and large customers are required to take measurements to check the levels of harmonic distortions in their power grid. Predictive studies are also provided for all those agents considered potentially disruptive that intend to connect to the basic grid of the Brazilian Electric System Operator (ONS). If a violation of the regulatory harmonic limits is identified, mitigation actions are required.

In these cases, the most common is the installation of harmonic filters, which represent high costs and are currently the sole responsibility of the agent connecting to the grid. "With the sharing methodology implemented, it is possible to determine who is accountable for the harmonic distortions and, thus, mitigation expenses can be shared among the agents involved - generation companies, transmission companies and/or free consumers," says Neoenergia's project manager, Claudionor Chaves.

Professor Ivan Nunes Santos, coordinator of the R&D project at the Federal University of Uberlândia, emphasizes the importance of developing the initiative and its scientific basis. "This is the first time that a methodology for sharing responsibility for harmonic distortions has been applied in Brazil with the monitoring of Brazilian Electric System Operator. The procedure has a strong scientific basis and can contribute with regulatory changes to facilitate the insertion process of wind farms and photovoltaic farms in Brazil", he explains.

For the Brazilian Electric System Operator (ONS), the project represents an important milestone that, once validated, may represent significant improvements in power quality. "This Research and Development project is a game-changer for determining the issue of harmonic generation responsibility resulting from the sharing of several wind and solar photovoltaic farms operating over a common connection point in the basic grid. The initial prospections of this research will be used as future subsidies for the implementation of new ancillary methodologies to assess harmonic performance, particularly the impact caused by renewable energy sources," says Fabiano Andrade Oliveira, from the Special Studies Management of the Planning Department of the Brazilian Electric System Operator (ONS).

Finally, GE Grid Solutions highlights the company's participation in the R&D project. "We are very proud to be part of this pioneering research on harmonic responsibility sharing. The initiative is in line with our mission to help provide clean, affordable and sustainable energy in Brazil, and we are confident that the results of the study will contribute to a better distribution of costs associated with the operation and maintenance of power plants," says Ricardo Carvalho Campos, Commercial Manager of the Grid Solutions division at GE Renewable Energy.