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STATCOM Case Study: Velco Select GE for Essex Station Refurbishment

GE’s Grid Solutions business was chosen by Velco to provide the STATCOM solution for the Essex station refurbishment project. GE’s Static Synchronous Compensator (STATCOM), fine-tunes the grid voltage—generating or absorbing reactive power when the grid voltage changes. It, therefore, helps stabilize the grid, increasing reliability and availability of grid operations. In other words, it enables a “smooth highway” that allows more power to run through the grid infrastructure. In the event of an immediate voltage drop, a common cause
for power outages, the STATCOM has a faster response time to inject huge electricity inrush, allowing a quick and safe recovery of the network.

GE’s STATCOM, designed for Velco’s Essex power station, is composed of MV7000 power electronics inverters. Control redundancy is implemented at the converter and system level. If one of the controllers fails, another controller automatically takes the lead without power interruption.  View the full case study here.

Key Features of the STATCOM for Velco include:

  • Fast and accurate control of the reactive power network with minimal infrastructure investments
  • Parallel operation of two STATCOMs with modular architecture allowing N-1 operation
  • Low noise harmonic emission requirement improving equipment maintainability

During the 10 months since STATCOM has been in operation, GE’s technology has successfully demonstrated the ability to continuously stabilize the grid by reacting at any time, in a very short time, to avoid network collapse and to ensure high quality of power in the local grid network.

“It is hard to entirely eliminate potential power outages, but there are ways to mitigate the risk. GE’s STATCOM solution has exceeded our expectations today, helping elevate our grid availability to more than 99.96 percent”, says Chris Root, Chief Operating Officer with Velco.  “With increased power transmission costs and evolving grid conditions, it is imperative to equip the grid with reliable technology that can immediately react to fault events and continue to stabilize the grid, ensuring a high standard of grid performance, which is the blood vessel of the industry. We are pleased to work with GE and very satisfied with GE’s technology and professional services provided.”

GE’s technology was selected to provide its grid support to the transmission and sub-transmission network in between Montreal and New York for controlling the voltage of the network, increasing the power quality and enhancing the grid reliability in the region. The two units were installed and commissioned in 2017.