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ABB says it has delivered and commissioned a microgrid control solution that enables the island of Faial in the Atlantic ocean to add more wind energy to its power mix without destabilizing the network.

Faial is one of nine volcanic islands in the Azores, a Portuguese archipelago located midway between Europe and North America, about 1,500 km from the mainland. ABB says the island of 15,000 inhabitants has an electricity network that operates as a self-contained microgrid, powered by six oil-fired generators that produce up to 17 MW of electric power.

The local power utility, Electricidade dos Acores, has installed five wind turbines as part of its efforts to boost capacity by more than 25% and minimize environmental impact on Faial. ABB says its control solution, a flagship technology of its Powercorp acquisition, will help ensure balance between supply and demand, maximize the integration of wind energy and optimize the generators so that the entire system performs at peak potential.

"ABB's technology will facilitate the control and monitoring of all the wind turbines and oil-fired generators on the island," says Claudio Facchin, head of ABB's Power Systems division. "This is an important function as the intermittency associated with wind energy can cause frequency and voltage fluctuations that can destabilize the microgrid and, in extreme cases, even lead to power disruptions and blackouts."






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