ABB’s FACTS technology to enhance availability of renewable power in Canada

2016-12-21 - ABB will upgrade six series capacitor (SC) banks in the Canadian power transmission network. The project is being realized for Hydro-Québec, one of North America’s leading clean energy companies, with the aim of increasing the transmission capacity for renewable power while also improving grid stability.

Hydro-Quebec is North America’s largest generator of hydropower, a clean electricity which enables Quebec to maintain exceptionally low levels of greenhouse gas emissions. The majority of hydroelectric power generation plants is concentrated in the northeastern and northwestern parts of the province, while main load centers are located in the south of Quebec. This requires power to be transported over a distance of more than 1,000 kilometers via the 735 kilovolt (kV) ultrahigh-voltage transmission grid.

To optimize the utilization of the network capacity and ensure reliable power supply to the main consumption area as well as meet current and future network design criteria, six series capacitors installed in the early 1990ies by ABB are being upgraded. By upgrading the control, measuring and protection systems of the SC units at Abitibi and Bergeronnes, the utility can significantly increase network capacity and stability without building new transmission lines.

Enhancing efficiency and minimizing environmental impact

Canada ranks among the countries with the highest per capita electricity consumption in the world, making it essential to employ sustainably and economically beneficial methods to generate, transmit and distribute energy. Most of its power needs are met by hydroelectricity. ABB’s FACTS solutions allow more power to reach consumers through existing transmission networks, which results in lower investment costs and shorter implementation times than the traditional alternative of building new power plants and transmission lines, while also minimizing environmental impact.

ABB’s project scope includes replacement of control and protection systems as well as measuring systems. The power rating of the Abitibi series capacitor will also be increased from 396 to 630 megavolt-ampere reactive (MVAR). The series capacitors provide increased voltage stability for the grid, enabling the transmission system to run more efficiently. They also improve the voltage profile along the power corridor and optimize power sharing between parallel circuits.

Hydro-Québec generates over 99 percent of its electricity from water and is one of the world’s largest and most competent FACTS users. Series capacitors are part of ABB’s family of FACTS (Flexible Alternating Current Transmission Systems) technology contributing to the enhancement of capacity and flexibility of power transmission systems and the evolution of smarter grids.

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