The Static Synchronous Compensator (STATCOM) is one of the most sophisticated technology under the umbrella of Flexible AC Transmission Systems (FACTS). The technology is attractive choice due to its faster response and smaller footprint as compared to the Static VAR Compensator (SVC).
Since the beginning of 2021, multiple utility STATCOM projects have been announced, tenders having been awarded to top OEMs around the world. This article discusses a few notable STATCOM wins in first and second quarter of 2021.
In Europe, the German power system is undergoing a massive transition in its energy mix with an aim to cater 80% of its energy need from renewable energy resources by 2050. The shift in Germany’s energy mix will require the closing of conventional power plants and installation of renewable power plants, resulting in a deficiency of reactive power support required by the grid to cater to voltage deviations. To provide reactive power support and maintain voltage stability, all four transmission system operators of Germany aim to install roughly 70 STATCOMs by 2030. Within that context, Amprion has recently awarded STATCOM orders to Siemens Energy and Hitachi ABB Power Grids. Two STATCOMs, each having a capacity of ±600 MVAr, will be supplied and installed by Siemens at Mannheim-Rheinau and Polsum substations whereas Hitachi ABB Power Grids will be delivering STATCOMs for Wehrendorf and Lampertheim substation. The STATCOM to be installed at Wehrendorf will have capacity of ±300 MVAr whereas STATCOM at Lampertheim substation will have capacity of ±600 MVAr. The demand in Europe is not only from utilities and renewables sector, but also in the steel sector as a result of national and regional infrastructure development support plans such as Industry 4.0. Interestingly, non-EU players are actively tapping into this market. A Korean supplier, LS Electric has been able to land its first order in Italy from the steel sector supplying a ±16 MVAr STATCOM.
Until this year, there have not been many STATCOM deployments in Middle East and Africa (MEA); however, major traction has been observed this year. Recently, Siemens Energy has been awarded the first grid stabilization project in Sudan by the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company and the Sudanese Electricity Transmission Company which entails development of two substations along with STATCOM to strengthen and stabilize the Egypt-Sudan AC Link. Saudi Arabia (KSA) has also started to invest in STATCOMs in 2021. STATCOM orders for Najran and Kudimi Substation have already been awarded to Alfanar and Siemens Energy. There are couple of other STATCOM projects as well for which bids have been under evaluation and are soon expected to be materialized. The total value of these STATCOM orders in KSA is beyond $100 Million. The Electricity and Water Authority (EWA) of Bahrain has also awarded an order for the installation of three STATCOMs to Hitachi ABB Power Grids. The STATCOMs with a capacity of ±200 MVAr each will be installed at new Hidd, new Riffa and Manama substations.
In North America, movement has resumed in the US, having been significantly affected by COVID-19. There, Siemens Energy has reported a STATCOM win from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) for a ±200 Mvar STATCOM to provide necessary voltage support in order to transport large amount of renewable energy from generation to demand centers of Los Angeles. Other suppliers like MEPPI are also in the process of completing multiple FACTS orders in the US utility sector which are expected to come online soon.
In APAC, most of the demand originates not from utility sector but from renewable developers i.e., solar and wind farms. China is the biggest market in APAC due to strict grid code requirements. As a result, thousands of MVAr are being installed in the form of STATCOMs every year in local solar and wind farms.
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