EIT Master of Engineering student, Santosh Ghimire, had to use a kerosene lamp to study and do his homework while growing up. His formative years in Nepal meant he was part of a sizable portion of the population that didn’t have access to electricity at home.
Now he authors a published article on wind power and sustainable energy.
Co-authored with EIT’s Professional Doctorate Research Coordinator and Lecturer, Dr. Seyed Morteza Alizadeh, their paper Developing a Decision Tree Algorithm for Wind Power Plants Siting and Sizing in Distribution Networks explores the realm of wind power possibilities, but it’s Santosh’s personal connection with electricity that gives this paper its buzz.
“After the end of Nepal’s civil war in 2006, building basic infrastructure like roads, electricity grids, and telecommunications in remote areas increased. At that time, I used to think of how electricity has changed the quality of life for people in terms of health, education, safety, economy, and reliability,” says Santosh.
Then the lightbulb flickered on. After graduating school, Santosh enrolled for a Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering at Tribhuvan University’s Pulchowk Campus in Lalitpur. Here he gravitated toward the principles and application of the field.
“I had a keen interest in power systems and renewable energy sources,” he explains.
After completing his degree, he was quickly part of the workforce at Alternative Energy Promotion Center (AEPC) in Nepal.
The governmental organization promotes alternative energies like biogas, as well as hydro, wind, and solar power.
“I was appointed as a District Officer in the Western region of Nepal. I had a chance to participate in different training and seminars organized for promoting renewable energy technologies,” he says.
Then came a big shift, when Santosh decided to enrol in EIT’s Master of Engineering (Industrial Automation) in 2019, and pursue it on-campus in Australia.
He had cognizance that while the energy demand is ever-increasing, the use of fossil fuels to generate energy doesn’t have a future. He knows the search for alternative, sustainable, and renewable energy sources will be the next great leap to ensure developing nations have adequate energy for years to come.
“Development of technologies has dropped the cost of energy produced by renewable technologies, which is now comparable with energy from traditional power plants. As renewable energy technologies are environmentally friendly and the sources are sustainable, a small contribution may be the foundation for the future of the power system,” Santosh believes.
This was always in the back of his mind when he had the opportunity to research with Dr. Alizadeh about wind-generated power plants and their distribution network.
The research was the foundation of the paper they published on MDPI Open Access Journals.
Dr. Alizadeh says the paper simplifies the analysis of voltage stability in the electrical network connected to a wind power plant.
Voltage stability is a key aspect in power quality criteria which can be defined by a steady supply of voltage that is maintained within a standard range near the rated value.
It is through a good power supply that equipment can run on optimal energy consumption which leads to savings in electricity bills, reduces overall energy consumption, and tightens the hand on the individual’s carbon footprint.
“However, the limited capability of wind turbine generators in regulating terminal voltage has posed many challenges regarding maintaining the voltage profile within the standard range. Consequently, the voltage stability issues adversely impact the power quality in the network.”
These concerns have slowed down the higher penetration of wind power plants in power networks. Hence, it is critical to propose solutions to overcome the aforementioned issues.
For Santosh, the research is a predictive model to predict a voltage profile. The value of the research lies in the way the voltage profile relates to the addition of wind power plants in a weak distribution network with a low short-circuit ratio.
“A decision tree has been built from simulation results and used to predict voltage profile concerning injected wind power. This is helpful for design engineers to select the size and location of a wind power plant which is going to be added in the distribution system,” says Santosh.
The advantage of their research is that compared to existing methods, their approach enables design engineers to carry out initial voltage stability assessments using the value of their two parameters without having to do calculations or simulate power systems.
The two parameters required in their proposed method are Short Circuit Capacity (SCC) and X/R ratio, which are the baseline characteristics of the power network. The values of SCC and X/R ratio are usually available or can easily be calculated using fundamental power system analysis methods.
The benefit is that engineers will be able to select the best site for connecting the wind farm to the network and accurately estimate the maximum power that can be injected by the wind power plant. It will also ensure the voltage is maintained within the standard range.
But’s what’s next for Santosh?
“I am also interested in the hydropower sector and I think hydro will be the future of Nepal.”
“It's my dream to contribute to my country's hydro sector going forward.”
Ghimire S, Alizadeh SM. Developing a Decision Tree Algorithm for Wind Power Plants Siting and Sizing in Distribution Networks. Energies. 2021; 14(8):2293. https://doi.org/10.3390/en14082293
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