Underspeed needle control of two Pelton turbine hydro units operating in a small power system has caused many incidents of partial system blackouts. Among the causes are conservative governor designs with regard to small signal stability limits, nonminimum phase power characteristics, and long tunnel-penstock traveling wave effects. A needle control model is developed from “water to wires” and validated for hydro-turbine dynamics using turbine test data. Model parameters are tuned using a trajectory sensitivity method. In the governor design proposed here the needle regulation gains are distributed into the power and frequency governor loops with a multi-timescale approach. Elements of speed loop gain scheduling and a new inner-loop pressure stabilization circuit are devised to improve the frequency regulation and to damp the traveling wave effects. Simulation studies show the improvements of the proposed control designs.

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