Document Type

Theses, Ph.D


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

Thesis submitted to Technological University Dublin in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, 2014.


Of the forms of renewable energy available, wind energy is at the forefront of the European (and Irish) green initiative with wind farms supplying a significant proportion of electrical energy demand. This type of distributed generation (DG) represents a ‘paradigm shift’ towards increased decentralisation of energy supply. However, because of the distance of most DG from urban areas where demand is greatest, there is a loss of efficiency. The solution, placing wind energy systems in urban areas, faces significant challenges. The complexities associated with the urban terrain include planning, surface heterogeneity that reduces the available wind resource and technology obstacles to extracting and distributing wind energy. Yet, if a renewable solution to increasing energy demand is to be achieved, energy conversion systems where populations are concentrated, that is cities, must be considered.

This study is based on two independent strands of research into: low voltage (LV) power flow and modelling the urban wind resource. The urban wind resource is considered by employing a physically-based empirical model to link wind observations at a conventional meteorological site to those acquired at urban sites. The approach is based on urban climate research that has examined the effects of varying surface roughness on the wind-field above buildings. The development of the model is based on observational data acquired at two locations across Dublin representing an urban and sub-urban site. At each, detailed wind information is recorded at a height about 1.5 times the average height of surrounding buildings. These observations are linked to data gathered at a conventional meteorological station located at Dublin Airport, which is outside the city. These observations are linked through boundary-layer meteorological theory that accounts for surface roughness. The resulting model has sufficient accuracy to assess the wind resource at these sites and allow us to assess the potential for micro–turbine energy generation.

One of the obstacles to assessing this potential wind resource is our lack of understanding of how turbulence within urban environments affects turbine productivity. This research uses two statistical approaches to examine the effect of turbulence intensity on wind turbine performance. The first approach is an adaptation of a model originally derived to quantify the degradation of power performance of a wind turbine using the Gaussian probability distribution to simulate turbulence. The second approach involves a novel application of the Weibull Distribution, a widely accepted means to probabilistically describe wind speed and its variation.

On the technological side, incorporating wind power into an urban distribution network requires power flow analysis to investigate the power quality issues, which are principally associated with imbalance of voltage on distribution lines and voltage rise. Distribution networks that incorporate LV consumers must accommodate a highly unbalanced load structure and the need for grounding network between the consumer and grid operator (TN-C-S earthing). In this regard, an asymmetrical 3-phase (plus neutral) power flow must be solved to represent the range of issues for the consumer and the network as the number of wind-energy systems are integrated onto the distribution network. The focus in this research is integrating micro/small generation, which can be installed in parallel with LV consumer connections. After initial investigations of a representative Irish distribution network, a section of an actual distribution network is modelled and a number of power flow algorithms are considered. Subsequently, an algorithm based on the admittance matrix of a network is identified as the optimal approach. The modelling thereby refers to a 4-wire representation of a suburban distribution network within Dublin city, Ireland, which incorporates consumer connections at single-phase (230V-N). Investigations relating to a range of network issues are considered. More specifically, network issues considered include voltage unbalance/rise and the network neutral earth voltage (NEV) for increasing levels of micro/small wind generation technologies with respect to a modelled urban wind resource. The associated power flow analysis is further considered in terms of the turbulence modelling to ascertain how turbulence impinges on the network voltage/voltage-unbalance constraints.