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The steady growth of installed wind power together with the upscaling of the single wind turbine power capability has pushed the research and development of power converters toward full-scale power conversion, lowered cost pr kW, increased power density, and also the need for higher reliability. In this paper, power converter technologies are reviewed with focus on existing ones and on those that have potential for higher power but which have not been yet adopted due to the important risk associated with the high-power industry. The power converters are classified into single- and multicell topologies, in the latter case with attention to series connection and parallel connection either electrical or magnetic ones (multiphase/windings machines/transformers). It is concluded that as the power level increases in wind turbines, medium-voltage power converters will be a dominant power converter configuration, but continuously cost and reliability are important issues to be addressed.
Date of Publication: March-April 2012