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This paper presents a new sensorless method for the vector control of doubly-fed induction machines (DFIMs) without using speed sensors or rotor position measurements. The proposed sensorless method is based on the model reference adaptive system (MRAS) estimating the rotor position and speed from the machine rotor currents. The method is appropriate for both stand-alone and grid-connected operation of variable speed DFIMs. To design the MRAS observer with the appropriate dynamic response, a small signal model is derived. The sensitivity of the method for variation in the machine parameters is also analyzed. Speed catching on the fly and synchronization of the doubly-fed induction generator with the utility are also addressed. Experimental results obtained from a 3.5-kW prototype are presented and fully analyzed.