ABB’s Power Grids business has completed the installation of the world’s first hybrid static compensator (Statcom) for TenneT, the transmission system operator of the Dutch, and a large part of Germany’s, high-voltage power grid. It is location in the Borken substation in the Federal state of Hessen, and was officially inaugurated by TenneT on 24 January.

A world first, owing to its unique ability to combine dynamic and static reactive power compensation on a 30% reduced footprint, the solution strengthens and stabilises the German power grid by providing reactive power compensation and dynamic voltage support to keep the grid stable at the required voltage. ABB Power Grids designed it to meet the specific requirements of TenneT.

As part of the energy transition, Germany is increasing its share of renewables, which has grown in 2019 by 5.4 % to 46 %. Going forward, the country is expected to continue to ramp up its investment in renewables to reach a target of 65 % of the country’s total power mix by 2030. Consequently, a huge amount of reactive power is needed to balance and stabilise the national grid. This is because as more centralized fossil power generation close to the consumption areas is phased out and replaced by more intermittent sources of energy (wind and solar) there is a greater need to transport electricity and thus to do more to maintain overall balance and stability.

Much of Germany’s renewable power is generated in the north and east of the country. From there, it is transmitted in bulk to the south, where there is a deficit. The hybrid Statcom can provide 400 MVAr of reactive power from a compact system that is said to be easily integrated into an existing substation.

Hybrid STATCOM is part of ABB's family of flexible alternating current transmission system (FACTS) technologies. Globally, ABB has delivered more than 800 FACTS installations.