Renewable wind and solar energy are playing an increasingly important role in the energy mix, aiming to significantly reduce carbon emissions. Yet the variable nature of solar and wind power creates a big challenge for power networks to provide a stable, uninterrupted flow of electricity. As more renewables come online, these networks will become less stable.
One solution to this challenge is the revival of a 100-year-old technology known as a synchronous condenser (SC). These products were used widely for voltage regulation, however, they fell out of favor with advances in power electronics. This trend is now in reverse – with SCs being on the uptake – as today’s networks evolve to handle the increased penetration of renewable energy.
SCs are rotating electrical machines that resemble synchronous generators. However, they are not a generator as they are not driven by an engine or turbine. Neither are they a motor, as they do not drive a load. Instead, they are large rotating machines that adjust fluctuating conditions of an electric grid. Installed at strategic intervals along a power transmission system, SCs help maintain power quality.
ABB’s SCs have been designed to meet project-specific needs in England, Australia, Canada, and Scotland. And with today’s influx of renewables, a synchronous condenser is the most secure solution to mitigate severe faults that could collapse a grid, or to strengthen a weak grid.
- Technology has been in use for over 100 years
- Supports increasing integration of renewable energy sources
- Most secure solution to mitigate faults
Discover more about Synchronous Condensers