Saudi Electricity Co. hires ABB to improve power grid reliability with FACTS

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Zurich, Switzerland-based automation technology group ABB won an order worth about $30 million from Saudi Electricity Co. (SEC) to refurbish flexible alternating current transmission systems (FACTS) systems in the country's eastern power grid. The order was booked in the fourth quarter of 2013.

ABB will refurbish two 380 kV static var compensators located at the existing Shedgum and Faras Substation, about 180 miles east of Riyadh. The static var compensators will operate in parallel with other compensators and power generators in close proximity.

They will provide reactive power support to limit temporary over voltages and mitigate voltage instabilities at low load conditions. The project is slated for completion by 2016.

Static var compensators are part of ABB’s family of 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.

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