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2004 IEEE International Conference on Electric Utility Deregulation, Restructuring and Power Technologies (DRPT2004) April 2004 Hong


Overview of STATCOM Technologies

Qingguang Yu, Member, IEEE, Pei Li, Wenhua Liu, Member. IEEE, Xiaorong Xie, Member. IEEE
Absfracf--L2OMvar STATCOM indicates that China is the dh

Sullivan 500kV Transformer Substation in October 1996 and

country to develop STATCOM in the world. This paper

it kept in good operation since then. In 1997, Siemens

introduces the development of STATCOM particularly in China.

installed an SMVA STATCOM at Rejsby Hede wind farm to

Topologies of STATCOM are discussed, and the cascade

provide dynamic control of wind generators ['I. In July 1997,

multilevel configuration is given in details. Power valves such as

a *160MVA STATCOM was developed by American

GTO, IGBT, IGCT, IEGT used in STATCOM are also

Electric Power (AEP), cooperating with Westinghouse

mentioned for competence. Shanghai

Electric Company and EPRI, as the parallel part of the first

h SOMvar


introduced to illustrate the state-of-art of STATCOM in China.

Unified Power Flow Controller (UPFC) installed at Inez

Index Terms-Flexihle AC Transmission System (FACTS),

Station in eastem Kentucky "I. EPRI and Siemens also

Static Var compensator (STATCOM), Cascade multilevel

developed a +200Mvar STATCOM, which was installed at

converter, Integrated Gate-Commutated Thyristor OGCT)

Marcy 345kV substation in Febmaly, 2001 [91.In early 2001,

a 175MVar STATCOM developed by ALSTOM, the frst

1. Introduction

cascade multilevel-inverter-based STATCOM in the world,

A Flexible AC Transmission System (FACTS) is an ac

entered commercial service at NGC (National Grid Company)

transmission system incorporating power electronic-based or

East Claydon, England [Ia1.A


other static controllers which provide better power flow

system has been installed at the Vermont Electric Power

control and enhanced dynamic stability by control of one or

Company's Essex 115 kV substation since May, 2001, to

more ac transmission system parameters (voltage, phase

compensate for heavy increases in summertime electric

angle. and impedance)[?

usage ['I1. A three-level *100Mvar STATCOM is installed by

Two of the most important

FACTS devices, which have broad application in electric

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) at Talega substation,

utility industry, are SVC (Static Var Compensator) and

Califomia in October 2002, and is to he extended to a





Back-To-Back system


An BOMvar UPFC developed by

STATCOM, also named ASVG (Advanced Static Var

Korea Electric Power Corporation is under installation and

Generator) is one of the new-generation FACTS devices, and

ready for commercial operation from the year 2003

STATCOM has played an important role in power

[I3]. Now
a STATCOM, consisting of two halves, each rated *75Mvar,
is under development by Alstom and is due to he installed at
Northeast Utilities' Glenbrook substation by the end of

industry since 1980s. Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc.

December 2003 [I4].ABB bas installed six STATCOM (also

(KEPCO) and Mitsubishi Motors, Inc. developed the first

named SVC Light) since 1997, listed in table 1, and ABB has

recognized to be one of the key technologies in hture power


STATCOM in the world, a 2OMvar STATCOM using

won a US$ 14 million order from Austin Energy, Austin,

force-commutated thyristor inverters, and put it into

Texas, to design, manufacture and install another STATCOM

operation in January 1980[21.In October 1986, a +lMvar

based on SVC Light technologies at Pedemales Substation

STATCOM was put into operation, which was developed by

by October, 2004.

EPRI and Westinghouse Electric Company, and was the first

static compensator employing high-power GTO inverters 13'.
In 1991, a *SOMvar STATCOM developed by KEPCO and
Mitsubishi Motors was installed at lnuyama Switching
Station to improve the stability of a 154kV system


Tennessee valley authority (TVA), together with EPRI and

Westinghouse, installed a *100Mvar STATCOM


Table I ABB STATCOM (SVC Light) Projects'"'



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2004 E E E International Conference on Electric Utility Deregulation, Resrmcturing and Power Technologies (DRPT2004) April 2004 Hong Kong

Improving the stability of power systems has received

STATCOM has the ability to maintain full capacitive

significant attention since the August 14,2003 blackout that

output current at low system voltage, which also makes it

affected the Northeast and Midwest of USA, as well as parts

more effective than SVC in improving the transient stability.

of Canada, so it can be expected that more STATCOMs and

Simulations indicate that

other FACTS devices will be installed in a few years.

STATCOM have similar effects in maintaining dynamic

1.3Mvar SVC and


voltage stability. Fig. 2 shows a much larger operating range

11. Theory of STATCOM

of STATCOM compared with that of SVC.

Compared with SVC, STATCOM can easily realize

The STATCOM is basically a DC-AC voltage source

converter with an energy storage unit, usually a DC capacitor.

redundancy design, which brings a higher reliability. IGCT,

It operates as a controlled Synchronous Voltage Source (SVS)

IGBT, used in STATCOM, require simpler gate drives and

connected to the line through a coupling transformer. Fig. 1

snubber circuits, and also make STATCOM more reliable.

shows the schematic configuration of STATCOM. The

STATCOM has a smaller installation space, about 50% of

controlled output voltage is maintained in phase with the line

that for SVC. The STATCOM of Alstom and Mitsubishi are

voltage, and can he controlled to draw either capacitive or

made relocatable, with a power density of 1Mvar/m3.

111. Main Circuit Topologies

inductive current from the line in a similar manner of a

There are mainly two types of STATCOM main circuit

synchronous condenser, but much more rapidly.

configurations: multipulse converter, multilevel converter [17'.


In the multipulse converter, the 3-phase bridges are

connected in parallel on the DC side, as shown in Fig. 2. The


are magnetically



a zigzag

transformer, and the transformer is usually arranged to make

the bridges appear in series viewed from the AC sides. Each
winding of the transformer is phase-shifted to eliminate

Fig. I Schematic configuration of STATCOM

selected harmonics and produce a multipulse output voltage.

Compared to SVC and other conventional reactive power

Pulse Width Moderation (PWM) can be applied to improve

compensators, STATCOM has several advantages listed

the harmonics content, at the expense of higher switching

STATCOM has a dynamic performance far exceeding the

and snubber loss, plus reduced fundamental var rating. The

disadvantages of multipulse converter configuration are: the

other var compensators. The overall system response time of

phase-shift transformer makes the system complex and bulky;

there will be a unique transformer design for each

STATCOM can reach lOms or less [161.

STATCOM installation.
voitage (P.".)





voitsge (P.".)





Fig. 3 Multipulse convener diagram

Fig. 2 Comparison bcrween V-l characteristics of SVC and STATCOM

Compared to the multipulse converter based STATCOM,


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2004 IEEE Intemational Conferenceon Electric Utility Deregulation, Restructuringand Power Technologies (DRPT2004) April 2004 Hong Kong

multilevel converters are more flexible and have a wide

support significant voltage unbalance.

application. They can be used as active power filters and to

handle unbalanced loads. No phase shift transformer is

IV. Operation Monitoring and Fault Diagnosis System

required in this configuration, so a lower investment cost,

The Operation Monitoring and Fault Diagnosis System

plus a lower power loss, can be expected. The multilevel

(OMFDS), which hasnt been paid enough attention to, is a

converter configuration can be further classified into three

key part of the STATCOM installation.

different configurations: 1) Diode-clamped converter,


OMFDS provides real-time supervision, fault alarming,

Flying capacitor converter, 3) Cascade converter. The

post-fault analysis, and user-friendly Human Machine

concept of the cascade multilevel converter is put forward by

A cascade converter is

Interface (HMI). As the information center of STATCOM, it

collects and store data !?om all the subsystems and

constructed by standard H-bridges in series. Each H-bridge

determines whether the STATCOM is in proper operation.

converter unit provides three voltage levels (-U, 0, U). A

The analysis results are provided to users through HMI, and

Fang Zheng Peng in 1996



single phase STATCOM based on this configuration is

can be also accessed by authorized remote OMFDS through

shown in Fig. 4. Fig. 5 is a typical output waveform of a

Local Area Network or Internet.

three level cascade converter.

Several articles are published to describe the OMFDS of a

52OMvar STATCOM developed by Tsinghua University
[231. This


OMFDS has some disadvantages listed below:

1) The extensibility for signal inputs is restricted by the


hardware architecture, so it is hard to adapt it for more

complex systems.

2) Low conversion rate of A/D acquisitions (typically 48

points per cycle) and accuracy.

A HIndge unit

3) Inadequate fault alarming and self diagnosis functions.

4) Low efficiency of communication between local and

Fig. 4 Cascade multilcvcl converter diagram (single phasc)

remote OMFDS.

Scheduling Level

Local Am Network OT Internet

CANBUS Optical Network

Fig. 5 Typical output voltage waveform of a t h m level cascadc converter

Appararus Level

Compared with the other two multilevel configurations

and the multipulse converter, the cascade converter
eliminates clamping diodes, flying capacitors, or the bulky

Fig. 6 The S t ~ c h l r eof Multilevel Distributed Monitoring System

zigzag transformer, and so requires least component mounts.

And the modularity of this configuration makes it much

A new OMFDS based on optical fiber links and CANBUS

easier to implement converters with a large number of

has been developed for the *5OMvar cascade STATCOM

levels. Larger dc-side capacitors are required compared to

developing by Tsinghua University. The OMFDS is built as a

the diode clamped and flying capacitor converter under

multi-level distributed monitoring system. It has three levels,

balanced condition but it provides separate phase control to

scheduling level, controlling level, and data collecting level,


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2004 IEEE International Conference on Electric Utility Deregulation, Restructuring and Power Technologies (DRF'T2004) April 2004 Hong Kong

shown in Fig. 6. An optical network is constructed for

on the multipulse converter configuration and consists of

communication between main control station and data

four six-pulse voltage source inverter units rated 5 MVA

collection units via CANBUS. CANBUS protocol supports

each, with a total capacity of *20Mvar.

up to 242 nodes, while 40 nodes are used in this OMFDS.

gate-tum-off thyristor (GTO), it could realize continuous

Based on

Global Position System (GPS) is applied to provide the

power flow control in either capacitive or inductive mode,

standard clock of the whole system. The data and analysis

and the response time for reactive power output is less than

results can be browsed by remote computers based on

30ms. Fig. 7 is the outline of the STATCOM.

Now a *5OMvar cascade IGCT-based STATCOM is under

Client-Server mode.

development at Tsingbua University, which is planned to be

V. State of the art and Trends

installed at Shanghai Huangdu 220kV Transformer Station in

China Power Industry bas had a rapid development since

late 1980s. In 1990s, annual average addition of installed

2005. It is expected to prevent transient voltage instability

and reduce undervoltage load shedding.

generation capacity was more than 17GW, and the total

Nanjing Automation Research Institute, China Electric

installed capacity doubled every 8 years. At the end of 2000,

Power Research Institute, North China Electric Power

the total installed capacity reached 3 19.3GW, ranking second

University, and Northeast China Institute of Electric Power

place in the world. This number will reach 500GW-750GW

Engineering were also engaged in device-level research in

in year 2010 and 2020 1241. Along with the rapid development,

this area.

there are some problems in power systems; inadequate

There are several developing trends of STATCOM.

(1). Power valves -- GTO, IGBT, IGCT, IEGT

reliability, high l i e losses and unsatisfactory power quality.

FACTS devices, including STATCOM, are greatly needed to
solve these problem. According to the simulation of China

IGCT, IEGT will be employed to replace GTO and IGBT


Central Power Grid with completion of Three Gorges

Injection Enhanced

Gate Transistor (IEGT) is a

Hydropower Station in 2010, about lGvar STATCOM need

newly-developed MOS device, with a smaller gate power

to be installed, and 1.2Gvar for SVC [251.

and higher turn-on and tum-off capacity compared with GTO.

IEGT requires no individual snubber circuits and has FWD
integrated in packages. Now the maximum rating of IEGT is

On-state voltage(V)
Maximum tum-on diidt (Nus)
Typical tum-on loss (J)
Typical tum-off loss (3kA) (J)
Snubber canacitor (3kA) (uF)

Gate drive power (500Hz)(W)





1 j:1 1






o ! 2

Gate tum-off charge (Qgq) (uC)

Fig. 7 Outline of thc h2OMvar STATCOM

Maximum tum-off dvidt (V/us)

The research of STATCOM in China began in 1994, and a

i2OMvar STATCOM developed by Tsinghua University


Storage time (ts) (us)

Table 2 Comparison between IGCT and GTO (4500Vi3000A).

together with Henan Power Administration, was put into

operation in the Henan 220kV power system in March, 1999

It is the first high power FACTS devices in operation,

and makes China one of the four countries which could

develop large capacity STATCOM in the world. It is based

The Integrated Gate-Commutated Thyristor (IGCT)

combines the excellent forward characteristics of the
thyristor and the switching performance of the bipolar
transistor. Snubber circuits are also not required in IGCT


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2004 IEEE International Conferenceon Electric Utility Deregulation,Restructuring and Power Technologies (DRF'T2004) April 2004 Hong Kong

operation. Compared with GTO and IGBT, IGCT has better

The H-STATCOM developed by Alstom consists of a

tum-off characteristics, lower conducting and switching loss,

+75Mvar STATCOM, a small fixed filter and a 127Mvar

and higher reliability of gate drive along with simpler gate

TSC, shown in Fig. 8. The whole system provides a

control. IGCT can operate at a frequency in the kHz range,


giving possibilities to implement advanced algorithms in the

(capacitive). The specified reactive power output is available

control system. The ratings reach 5500V/1800A for reverse

at 0.95 per unit system voltage, giving a maximum output

conducting IGCTs and 4500Vi4000A for asymmetrical

current of 22Y0.95 = 2.37 per unit (on IOOMVA base) [''I.






IGCTs [**I. Table 2 is the comparison between IGCT and

STATCOM, together with SSSC, could also operate as a


UPFC, which could maintain line voltage as well as control

(2). Cascade multilevel converter

power flow in power system.

Cascade multilevel converter will be the most popular

configuration of STATCOM. The topology of cascade

VI. Conclusions

multilevel converter is relatively simple, and the synthesis of

In resent years, along with the rapid increasing electric

converter voltage is ai50 less restricted. The modular

power requirement, the reconstruction of China's urban and

structure of the converter provides available redundancy and

rural power network is more and more urgent. There will be

easy extensibility. The cascade converter is especially

huge demand for reactive power compensation to improve

attractive for the implementation of FACTS controllers that

the efficiency and stability of AC transmission systems

do not involve the exchange of active power (which is

during transmission upgrade process. This paper introduces

difficult with isolated dc links) such as the STATCOM and

STATCOM technologies, and gives a description of its

Static Synchronous Series Compensator (SSSC).

development in China. As one of the second generation

(3). Hybrid STATCOM

FACTS devices, STATCOM should be given more attention

Hybrid STATCOM, the combination of STATCOM and


other FACTS devices, such as Mechanically-Switched


Capacitor (MSC), Thyristor Switched Capacitor (TSC),

SSSC, will be widely used. Better performance and lower
cost can be expected if STATCOM properly operates



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65 1

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2004 IEEE International Conference on Electric Utility Deregulation, Restructuring and Power Technologies ( D W T 2 0 0 4 ) April 2004 Hong Kong

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VIII. Biography

Qingguang Yu was born in Liaoning Provincc, P.R.

6-10 Oct. 2002: 2008 -2013 01.3

of China, on March 24, 1966. He reccived his Ph D

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degree in power electrical drive and automation from

June 2003:21-23

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Dccember 15, 1981. He received his BS degree in

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