Red Eléctrica, the Redeia company responsible for the transmission and operation of the Spanish electricity system (TSO), has awarded ABB four orders for synchronous condensers (also known as synchronous compensators or SC) to strengthen the electricity grid, increase the quality of supply and boost the energy transition of the Canary and Balearic Islands. The integrated solution, which also includes electrical and automation equipment, will play an important role in maintaining the stability, reliability and continuity of island grids as they integrate higher levels of renewable energy to meet Spain’s energy transition goals. ABB’s integrated technology will provide the inertia and short-circuit current needed to maintain power supply on the islands under these new conditions. Financial details of the order have not been disclosed.

The project is part of the Network Development Plan 2021 – 2026, the execution of which will allow the integration of 67 % of renewable energy into the generation mix, advancing the objectives of Spain’s 2021-2030 Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan (Spanish PNIEC). The PNIEC aims for a 32 % reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared to 1990 and an 81 % penetration of renewable energy resources in the electricity system. According to data from Red Eléctrica, renewable energies exceeded 50 % of the Spanish generation mix in 2023.

The advance of the energy transition in both archipelagos poses a challenge for the system operator which makes it necessary to reinforce the grid to maintain its balance and ensure reliable and resilient operations. ABB is collaborating with Red Eléctrica to deploy an integrated solution through synchronous condensers, rotating electrical machines that mimic the operation of large generators to help stabilise the grid when loads and available energy production fluctuate. Services provided by SCs include inertia, short-circuit current and reactive power for voltage regulation.

Three of the synchronous condenser’s orders will be deployed in the Canary Islands, where Red Eléctrica is also executing projects to continue advancing in the energy transition, such as the Salto de Chira, or the Tenerife-La Gomera interconnection. In the Balearic Islands, where all the islands are connected to each other and to the mainland grid from Mallorca, another SC will be installed.

ABB will provide a complete and integrated solution, ranging from initial system studies to detailed engineering of the electrical and automation equipment, and installation of the synchronous condensers solution, integrated with flywheel, project management and training. The ABB Ability System 800xA distributed control system will also be part of the scope, as well as long-term service support.