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In this paper, the performance of a grid-connected wind energy conversion system (WECS), based on a doubly fed induction generator (DFIG) fed by a matrix converter (MC), is presented. The MC replaces the back-to-back converters conventionally used to control a DFIG. The MC is operated with close-to-unity power factor at the grid side. Stability issues related to the operation of the MC in the proposed WECS are discussed. A small signal model is used to investigate the dynamic performance of the two control arrangements discussed in this paper. Experimental results, obtained with a 4-kW prototype, are presented and fully discussed in this paper. The performance of the system for variable speed generation is verified using the emulation of a variable speed wind turbine implemented with a digitally controlled dc machine.