GE Renewable Energy’s Grid Solutions business (NYSE:GE) has won five Flexible AC Transmission Systems (FACTS) in recent months, reflecting customers’ confidence in GE’s technology to help them increase the power transfer capability and controllability of their alternating current (AC) grids. The contracts include a Fixed Series Compensation (FSC) bank reconfiguration project for Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) in the U.S. and a Static Synchronous Compensator (STATCOM) project for Saudi Electricity Company, one of the largest producers of electricity in the Middle East and North Africa.
Available for new and existing transmission networks, FACTS technologies help boost a transmission network’s efficiency and operational performance. FSC technology helps reduce transmission losses by making the transmission line behave as if it were shorter than its actual physical length. STATCOM technology, on the other hand, can either provide or absorb reactive current, thereby regulating the voltage at the point of connection to a power grid. Fast acting and cost-effective, both FSC and STATCOM are becoming ever more critical with the rise in decentralized renewable energy systems.
“GE has more than a century of experience designing and building transmission network systems, including the world’s first Fixed Series Compensation project in the U.S. in 1928,” said Olivier Ruiz, North American Regional Leader for GE Grid Solutions’ Grid Systems Integration business. “Our recent awards add to our installed base of nearly 450 FSC and STATCOM systems globally, confirming our position as one of the leading FACTS players in the world. In terms of FSC systems alone, we have a total of about 160,000 Mvars installed, making us the industry leader in this segment.”
New Mexico FSC project
GE’s PNM bank reconfiguration project for the series capacitors at PNM’s Rio Puerco switching station in New Mexico’s Sandoval County accommodated changes in transmission line length and reconfiguration due to the replacement of a thermal plant with a solar facility. Based on previous project successes, PNM turned to GE for the project, which required a quick turnaround.
“We appreciate the partnership with GE and are encouraged by any advanced technology that promotes sustainable energy. PNM is committed to 100% carbon-free electricity in New Mexico and will continue to pursue technologies that help us serve our customers with clean and reliable energy,” said Pat Vincent-Collawn, PNM CEO.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia STATCOM project
GE in partnership with Alfanar, a Saudi conglomerate with a global presence, was awarded a contract for the installation of a Hybrid STATCOM for the Saudi Electricity Company in Tabuk in northern Saudi Arabia. The system is rated at +450 Mvar capacitive and -150 Mvar inductive.
The Hybrid STATCOM will be installed at the high-voltage direct current (HVDC) interconnection substation between Saudi Arabia and Egypt, helping to support grid resilience and enhancing the exchange of electricity between the two countries. GE’s scope includes project management, engineering studies, design of equipment, delivery of equipment, supervision for the installation of equipment, testing and commissioning services. This marks GE’s third STATCOM project in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the last two years.
Three other recent FACTS projects
Grid Solutions’ three other recent FACTS contracts – all FSC projects for new substations – are all for customers in the U.S. in the following states:
Colorado – GE will install two 525 kV FSC banks to support power delivery for two new substations to be built across a 414-mile stretch of existing transmission network. GE will provide project management, engineering studies, equipment design, supply, delivery, supervise installation, test, and commission the FSC banks. These banks are planned for pre-commissioning in September 2023 and April 2024 with the total system scheduled to be energized in September 2024.
Idaho – GE will design, build, and install a 500 kV series capacitor bank at a 500 kV substation to replace an existing 40-plus-year-old series capacitor bank. This project is GE’s fifth capacitor bank replacement for this customer. The installation consists of one dual segment bank with redundant protection equipment.
Kansas – A large renewable energy developer has installed wind turbines with a total capacity of 600 MW connected to two substations in Kansas. From there, the power will travel more than 170 miles on a 345 kV overhead line through multiple substations to the point of interconnection to the grid. GE’s 345 kV, 436 Mvar series capacitor solution will satisfy the interconnection requirements to deliver the renewable generation to the grid. GE will provide project management, engineering studies, and equipment design. GE will also supply and deliver the FSC solution, as well as supervise installation, testing, and commissioning. Commissioning is scheduled for October 2023.
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