Synchronous condensers are key to enabling renewable growth – but what are they?

We spoke to Kristina Carlquist, General Manager within ABB’s Synchronous Condensers unit, to find out

The Big Zero report

Featured Video Play Icon

Synchronous condensers are key to enabling renewable growth – but what are they?

We spoke to Kristina Carlquist, General Manager within ABB’s Synchronous Condensers unit, to find out.

She explained that the technology took the form of a rotating machine connected to the grid, that was not a generator or motor.

As large, fossil fuel rotating generators are decommissioned to tackle climate change, being replaced by more renewable and decentralised energy sources, less inertia is available on the grid, meaning it is more susceptible to periods of instability.

Synchronous condensers have three main functions – they give inertia to the grid to keep network frequency stable, they help short-circuit capacity in the event of faults by reducing dips in power and they can also supply and absorb reactive power to help keep grid voltage stable.

Kristina noted: “If frequency goes too high or too low, there is actually a risk of a blackout and you don’t want the risk of a blackout on the network – we can all imagine what would happen if we don’t have the power we need at the time that we need it, so that’s something we need to avoid.

“It’s not only that we need to be able to produce the power, we really also need to make sure that the network can handle it and manage it, that it’s stable enough to send it out to everybody that needs it.”

Watch the full interview to find out more and feel free to contact Kristina or Shawn Traylor, Media Relations Manager at ABB Motion.

If you enjoyed this story you can sign up to our weekly email for Energy Live News – and if you’re interested in hearing more about the journey to net zero by 2050, you can also sign up to the future Net Zero newsletter. 

Latest Podcast