The installation of a static VAr compensator (SVC) device in a Texas substation will enhance grid reliability as well as facilitate the future integration of renewable energy in the region, says ABB.

The Swiss engineering group has won a $20 million order from US utility Oncor to install the device at the Renner substation in the northern part of the state. The order is the fourth awarded by Oncor to ABB for SVC technology.

The SVC unit is intended to help Oncor improve energy efficiency, help maintain an uninterrupted flow of electricity and enhance grid reliability. “The robust design and flexibility of static VAr compensators will allow Oncor to continue to reliably operate the transmission grid in North Texas with less dependence on local generation,” said Oncor senior vice president Jim Greer.

Oncor serves more than seven million customers in Texas and operates the state’s largest transmission and distribution system. The rapid growth of wind energy in Texas and surrounding states has put parts of the region’s transmission network under strain in recent years.

SVC devices provide fast reactive power compensation to the network, which enhances stability by countering fluctuations in the voltage, and by allowing more power to flow through the network. The technology is part of ABB’s family of Flexible AC Transmission Systems (FACTS) solutions.

In 2008 ABB installed an SVC unit in the Renner region and has also installed two units in the Dallas-Fort Worth area at the Parkdale substation, which now represents the world’s largest cluster of SVC technology. The two Parkdale units are scheduled to start operating in mid-2009. The Renner substation project is scheduled for completion by the end of 2010.