Scotland has long been a net exporter of electricity and in the past decade, has led the UK in renewable electricity generation through the rapid expansion of wind power in addition to the power generated by hydroelectric plants. Renewable electricity generation continues to grow, with onshore and offshore wind, wave and tidal resources being increasingly harnessed. Tapping its renewable energy resources is an integral part of Scotland's vision of a balanced energy mix to deliver secure, low carbon and cost-effective energy to power economic development. The government has set itself a target for the renewable energy sector to generate the equivalent of 100 percent of the country's annual demand for power by 2020.
The 239-megawatt, Kilgallioch wind farm contributes to more than 1.5 gigawatts (GW) of installed onshore wind capacity in the UK, with an aim to go up tor 2 GW. ScottishPower Renewables is part of the major Spanish utility Iberdrola and the Kilgallioch wind farm in southwest Scotland is their second largest onshore wind farm, and the third largest overall in the UK, covering an area of 32 square kilometers. The Kilgallioch wind farm has the capacity to generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 130,000 households annually
Helping reach environmental targets
ScottishPower Renewables has contracted ABB to supply, deliver, install and commission three containerized PCS 6000 STATCOM units for a new substation being constructed at the Kilgallioch wind farm, to which ABB is already supplying switchgear and associated power equipment.
The STATCOMs will ensure the reliable grid integration of the wind farm by providing dynamic reactive power support to control the voltage and the power factor at the connection point of the wind farm. Dynamic shunt compensation contributes significantly to the power system reliability and stability. The installation of the STATCOM units will also help meet UK grid code requirements.
Electrical loads both generate and absorb reactive power. Since the transmitted load often varies considerably from one hour to the next, the reactive power balance in a grid varies as well and this can result in unacceptable variations in voltage, including voltage depression or even voltage collapse. A STATCOM continuously provides variable reactive power in response to voltage variations, supporting the stability of the grid. Installing a STATCOM at one or more suitable points in a grid helps increase power transfer capability by enhancing voltage stability and maintaining a smooth voltage profile under different network conditions. Its ability to perform active filtering is also very useful for improvements in power quality.
Strengthening the UK grid
STATCOM devices are part of ABB's FACTS (Flexible Alternating Current Transmission Systems) portfolio. ABB pioneered FACTS technology and is a market and technology leader in this domain with over 800 installations supplied across the world. By boosting power capacity and improving stability in existing grids, FACTS technologies enable more power to reach consumers with minimal environmental impact while also lowering investment costs. More than 20 ABB STATCOMs operate in various UK wind farms and provide over 600 megavolt-ampere reactive (MVAr) to help strengthen the country's electrical grid.