Power automation firm ABB won an order worth about $60 million from Hydro-Québec, Canada’s leading power utility to replace vital components of its ultra-high voltage transmission system that helps transport hydroelectric power from North to South Quebec. The order was booked in the fourth quarter of 2013.
As part of the order, ABB will upgrade two static var compensators (SVC) located at the Albanel substation, about 310 miles north of Montreal, that provide fast-acting reactive power compensation for the 735 kV electricity network. The upgrades are slated for completion by 2016.
SVCs are part of ABB’s family of flexible alternating current transmission systems (FACTS) technologies, which help enhance the capacity and flexibility of power transmission systems and contribute to the evolution of smarter grids. They compensate for fluctuations in the voltage and current of an electric grid, thereby allowing more power to flow through the network while maintaining network safety and stability.
FACTS solutions allow more power to reach consumers through the existing transmission network. This results in lower investment costs and shorter implementation times than the traditional alternative of building new power plants and transmission lines, with the added benefit of minimizing environmental impact.
They also help address voltage and frequency stability issues and enable the transmission system to run more efficiently. ABB has delivered more than 800 such FACTS installations across the world.