GE is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the supply of its first synchronous condenser, and in November officially inaugurated a new SC at the Uchtelfangen substation at Illingen in the Saarland, Germany, where it will supply regional voltage maintenance in the power grid.
GE’s first SC, a 10 Mvar device, was supplied in 1919, when GE shipped the world’s first high voltage synchronous condenser to Ontario Hydro in Canada. The technology has made a ‘comeback’ recently as transmission networks around the world struggle to deal with weak grid conditions as a result of retiring legacy thermal generation units and the intermittency of wind and solar power. The technology, once considered nearly obsolete, has reinvented itself and now provides critical support to a transforming grid.
Installed at strategic intervals along a transmission system, SCs are electrical rotating electrical devices, similar to an electric motor, that can produce or absorb reactive power, a key factor in grid stability.
GE’s latest offerings have undergone many developments since 1919. The original 10 Mvar model has evolved over the past century to meet evolving grid demands. GE now offers units ranging from 20 Mvar up to more than 300 Mvar in a single piece of equipment. GE has supplied more than 200 synchronous condensers to utilities around the globe.