Date of Award

December 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Adel Nasiri

Committee Members

David Yu, Brian Armstrong, Hossein Hosseini, Eduard Muljadi


Energy Storage, Power Conversion, Power Electronics, Ultracapacitors, Wind Energy


The energy of wind has been increasingly used for electric power generation worldwide due to its availability and ecologically sustainability. Utilization of wind energy in modern power systems creates many technical and economical challenges that need to be addressed for successful large scale wind energy integration. Variations in wind velocity result in variations of output power produced by wind turbines. Variable power output becomes a challenge as the amount of output power of the wind turbines integrated into power systems increases. Large power variations cause voltage and frequency deviations from nominal values that may lead to activation of relay protective equipment, which may result in disconnection of the wind turbines from the grid. Particularly community wind power systems, where only one or a few wind turbines supply loads through a weak grid such as distribution network, are sensitive to supply disturbances.

While a majority of power produced in modern power systems comes from synchronous generators that have large inertias and whose control systems can compensate for slow power variations in the system, faster power variations at the scale of fraction of a second to the tens of seconds can seriously reduce reliability of power system operation. Energy storage integrated with wind turbines can address this challenge. In this dissertation, lithium-ion ultracapacitors are investigated as a potential solution for filtering power variations at the scale of tens of seconds.

Another class of issues related to utilization of wind energy is related to economical operation of wind energy conversion systems. Wind speed variations create large mechanical loads on wind turbine components, which lead to their early failures. One of the most critical components of a wind turbine is a gearbox that mechanically couples turbine rotor and generator. Gearboxes are exposed to large mechanical load variations which lead to their early failures and increased cost of wind turbine operation and maintenance. This dissertation proposes a new critical load reduction strategy that removes mechanical load components that are the most dangerous in terms of harmful effect they have on a gearbox, resulting in more reliable operation of a wind turbine.