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This paper proposes a new direct active and reactive power control (DPC) for the three-phase grid connected dc/ac converters. The proposed DPC strategy employs a nonlinear sliding mode control (SMC) scheme to directly calculate the required converter's control voltage so as to eliminate the instantaneous errors of active and reactive powers without involving any rotating coordinate transformations. Meanwhile, there are no extra current control loops involved, which simplifies the system design and enhances the transient performance. Constant converter switching frequency is achieved by using space vector modulation, which eases the design of the ac harmonic filter. Simulation and experimental results are provided and compared with those of the classic voltage-oriented vector control (VC) and conventional lookup table (LUT) DPC strategies. The proposed SMC-DPC is capable of providing enhanced transient performance similar to that of the LUT-DPC, and keeps the steady-state harmonic spectra at the same level as those of the VC scheme. The robustness of the proposed DPC to line inductance variations is also inspected during active and reactive power changes.