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# Power Electronics in Electric Utilities: Static Var Compensators

LASZLO GYUGYI

Invited Paper

This paper deals with dynamic var compensation of electric power systems, applying power electronics for reactive power generation and control. After an overview of the emergence and status of modern, solid-state var compensators in utility and industrial applications, the first part of the paper explains how dynamic var compensation increases transmittable power by providing voltage support, transient stability improvement, and power oscillation damping in electric power transmission systems. Subsequent sections describe the methods of reactive power generation and control using thyristor-controlled reactors, with fixed and thyristorswitched capacitors, or modern gate tum-off (GTD) power converters that can function without ac capacitors or reactors. The last part of the paper summarizes the control structure and operation to provide the desired characteristics and performance in power system applications.

INTRODUCTION

An inherent characteristic of electric energy transmission and distribution by alternating current (ac) is that real power is generally associated with reactive power. AC transmission and distribution lines are dominantly reactive networks, characterized by their per-mile series inductance and shunt capacitance. Thus, load and load power factor changes alter the voltage profile along the transmission lines and can cause large amplitude variations in the receiving end voltage. Most of the loads are not tolerant to voltage variation. Undervoltage causes degradation in the performance of loads such as induction motors, light bulbs, etc.; overvoltage causes magnetic saturation and resultant harmonic generation, as well as equipment failures due to insulation breakdown. Reactive power also increases the transmission losses. In add ition to steady-state considerations, rapid changes in reactive power and the corresponding voltage variations, caused by line switching, faults, load rejection, and other disturbances, can suddenly change the real power demand in the power system. Rapid changes in real power demand can cause some power generators to accelerate, and others to decelerate, from their steady-state synchronous speed, Manuscript received November 5,1987; revised February 9,1988. The author is Manager, Power Electronics Department, Westinghouse R&D Center, Pittsburgh, PA 15235, USA. IEEE Log Number 8821048.

resulting in transient frequency and power "swings" or, in extreme cases, in the total loss of synchronism and even in the disintegration of the power system. The need for controlling reactive power in transmission and distribution lines has been recognized since the emergence of the ac power system. Permanently connected and switchable shunt capacitors and reactors have been used from the beginning to ensu re desirable voltage profile along the transmission and distribution lines, and to minimize voltage variation in face of daily power demand changes. To handle dynamic disturbances (line switching, loss of generation, load rejection, faults, etc.), the reactive power control has to be fast in order to provide effective voltage and power flow control and thereby a significant improvement in system stability. In the past, transmission systems were conservatively designed with large stability margins and the then-available dynamic compensators, such as rotating synchronous condensers and-more recently-saturating reactors, were rarely required. In recent years, energy, environment, right-of-way, and cost problems delayed the construction of both generation facilities and new transmission lines. This has necessitated a change in the trad itional power system concepts and practices; better utilization of existing power systems has become imperative. The interconnection of separate power systems allows better utilization of power generation capability, and fast reactive compensation of ac transmission lines can significantly increase the stability limits and, thereby, the transmittable power. As it frequently happens, the developing market needs have been answered by technology developments. Advances in high power semiconductor and sophisticated electronic control technologies have made the development of fast, thyristor-controlled static var compensators (SVCs) possible. These compensators were originally developed for arc furnace compensation in the early 19705, and a few years latertheywere adopted for transmission system compensation. They are characterized by extremely rapid response, unrestricted operation, high reliability, and almost unlimited operating flexibility. One of the first thyristor-controlled static var com pen© 1988 IEEE

0018-921918810400-0483$01.00

PROCEEDINGS

OF THE

IEEE, VOL.

76. NO.4,

APRIL

1988

483

The second part of the paper describes solidstate approaches for controllable reactive power generation.sators. VOL. Several new SVC projects are currently in various stages of negotiation. Worldwide.S.6) v2 P ~X sin 6 (b) «n -6 n Fig. Presently. which can generate controllable reactive power without the use of capacitors and reactors. the steady-state value. X is the total interconnective reactance. Undervoltage can cause degradation in the performance of loads. or regai ning. (inductance) and is controlled by the angle between the sending and receiving end voltages. and the control structu re needed to meet specific compensation requirements of ac power systems. The transient stability limit defines the maximum level of steady-state power transmission at which the system can still recover normal operation following a specified major disturbance. are currently under development. In this case. specification. a relatively minor disturbance can lead to increasing power oscillation and the eventual loss of synchronism ("dynamic or oscillatory instability"). Consider the simple model of a generator being linked to an infinite bus by a reactive line shown in Fig. and 2) the voltage levels are kept close to their rated val ues. Presently. etc. there has been a dramatic increase in the use of static var compensators in power system applications. the voltage along the transmission line. 76. there are 41 transmission line compensators installed. AC power transmission is based upon two fundamental conditions: 1) generators remain in synchronism. 1(a). The transmission and distribution lines are essentially distributed-parameter reactive networks characterized by their series inductance and shunt capacitance. and overvoltages can lead to eq uipment damage and the generation of harmonics due to magnetic saturation. There are also 28 industrial SVCs with a total rating of 1670 Mvar. However. may change significantly with load and load power factor. The real power through the line is inversely proportional to line impedance The main constituents where Vis the magnitude of the generator and infinite bus voltage. and Canada with a total rating of 9710 Mvar.4. The first part of the paper reviews the basic operating principles of ac electric power systems and establishes the functional requirements forvar compensators. In the extreme 484 PROCEEDINGS OF THE IEEE. The loads generally consume both real and reactive power. Controlled power exchange in an ac power system is possible only if all synchronous generators run in synch ronism with each other. 1(b). or on order. The stability is the tendency of the power system to continue to operate in the intended steady-state mode and its abilityto recover after extraneous disturbances (faults. AC POWER SYSTEM FUNDAMENTALS AND TERMS generator. was installed atthe Shannon Substation of the Minnesota Power and Light (MP&L) system in 1978. Since 1978. APRIL 1988 . The generators are rotating synchronous machines. Maintenance of rated voltage levels is important for the proper operation and utilization of loads. The capability of maintaining. 1. The transmittable power over a transmission line between the sending and receiving end terminals is primarily determined by the reactive line impedance. The (a) vs vR =V ~V sin ct sin (01 . Simple two machine power system (a) and corresponding power transmission characteristic (b). th is gives a total of 69 installations in these countries with a combined capacity of 11 380 Mvar. load switching. during which the transmitted power and transmission angle can significantly change from. This EPRI-funded project.) which forced a change in the steady-state operation. The theoretical maximum transmittable power defining the steady-state stability limit is obtained at 0 = 1r/2: Pm ax = X' V2 (2) Transmission lines cannot be operated too close to their steady-state stability limit because a sufficient margin in the power transfer is needed to recover from dynamic disturbances. and 0 is the power angle between the sending end machine internal voltage and the infinite bus voltage. This paper discusses static var compensators in electric power system applications. a power system may have negative damping. and atthe receiving end. transmitted power P is given by V2 P = . there are at least 300 SVC installations with a total rating of over 30000 Mvar. Due to its reactive impedance. and planning. and loads. thyristor valves are used almost exclusively in conjunction with capacitor and reactor banks in practical compensators. The relationship between the power P and angle 0 is shown in Fig. other techniques using gate turn-off (GTO) thyristors. There are several possible approaches to generate and control reactive power using different semiconductor switching devices and circuits. synchron ism is expressed by the term stability. or oscillate around.sin 0 X (1) I. was to demonstrate the practicality of static compensators in utility applications. transmission of an ac electric power system are: and distribution lines. with a rating of 40 Mvar. Occasionally. still in service. NO. in the U.

2) power oscillation damping. the power transmission is characterized theoretically by the following equation: V2 0 P = . n/2 -0 Fig. The improvement in transient stability achievable with controlled shunt compensation is simply due to the significant increase in the steady-state stability limit obtained. 2(b) where power P is plotted against angle o. Simple two machine power system with ideal midpoint compensator (a) and corresponding power transmission characteristic (b).case. During the fault. This phenomenon is termed voltage insta- bility. a large load change may cause the receiving end voltage to collapse. The dynamic behavior of the two systems is illustrated in Fig. Evidently. then (1) can be applied for each half of the line. that is P= Fig. while the mechanical input power to the generators remains constant (PM)' Therefore. Suppose that in both the compensated and uncompensated systems the transmitted power is the same. where the previous simple power system model (Fig. n times the steady-state power limit of the uncompensated case. (a) P=-xslnO i "s v = V sin ct =Vsln(ul-0/21 = Vsin (ul-01 (a) v m R 2P max 2P max (b) (b) Pm a. A. 3. Transient Stability Improvement Consider Fig.sin(4) The previous brief review of ac power system operating requirements and problems indicates that dynamic reactive compensation needs are in the areas of 1) transient stability improvement. 3(a) and (b). The accelerating o GYUGYI: STATIC VAR COMPENSATORS 485 . PM~~~~~~----~\--' \ -6 \ \ chronous condenser) is connected at the midpoint. the transmitted electric power becomes zero. 1(a) and 2(a). A greatly simplified example is used here to illustrate the basic concepts. 2. that is. II. each system transmits power PM at angles and 0el. Consider the simple power system models shown in Figs. 1(a)) shown with an ideal controllable synchronous voltage source (such as an ideal rotating syn- X n n which gives a maximum transmittable power of nV2/X. and 3) voltage support (prevention of voltage instability). Equal area illustrating transient stability margin for a two machine power system (a) without compensation and (b) with an ideal midpoint compensator. the maximum transmittable power obtained at Prior to the fault. If the voltage at the midpoint is kept the same as that at the sending and receiving ends. Assu me that both systems are su bjected to the same fault for the same period of time. respectively (subscript c stands for "compensated"). DYNAMIC COMPENSATION REQUIREMENTS OF AC POWER SYSTEMS 012 = 7r/2 is 2V2/X. the transmission reactance X can be divided into n equal sections with a perfect synchronous compensator at the joining points of the sections. 2(a). X sin 2:' 2 V2 b (3) The power transmission relationship expressed by (3) is illustrated in Fig. twice the steady-state limit of the uncompensated case. the generators accelerate from the steady-state angles 01 and Or1 to angles 02 and oe2' at which the fault clears. In general. In this case.

except possibly during the fault. the rating of the static compensator is lower than that required for maximum attainable power. if the midpoint voltage is constant (Vm = const and il Vm = 0). between some capacitive and inductive limits. reaching a maximum value equal to 4Pmax at the maximum steady-state power transmission limit of 2Pmax' (P maxis the maximum transmittable power of the uncompensated system. APRIL 1988 . Power Oscillation Damping Consider again the simple power system model with a midpoint compensator shown in Fig. the midpoint voltage must be varied as a function of d(ilo)ldt. and it is to be decreased (by absorbing inductive vars) when d(ilo)ldt is negative (to reduce the transmitted electric power and thereby oppose the deceleration of the generator). depending on the method used for reactive power generation. that is. The difference between maximum angular swing and the critical angle determines the margin of transient stability. The magnitude of the midpoint voltage is now assumed variable. the load. that is ilVM = K~ (8) where K is a constant. (2)-voltage control as a fu nction of dO/dt. assuming constant mechanical power (PM = const) and expressing the change in electrical power in terms of the (controllable) amplitude Vm of the midpoint voltage and angle 0 (referto (3». 4. 2(a). For this reason. The critical rotor angle represents the rotor angular swing beyond which rotor deceleration cannot be maintained. B. 4. 3(a) and (b) clearly shows the substantial increase in transient stability margin the (ideal) shunt compensation can provide. a practical compensator approximates the ideal synchronous voltage source only as long as the (midpoint) var demand does not exceed its (capacitive) rating. is illustrated in Fig. (1)-voltage regulation only. Power oscillation damping achieved by alternating the maximum available var output [3] of the midpoint compensator accord ing to the polarity of d(il8)dt. 486 PROCEEDINGS OF THE IEEE.I (7) In order to provide damping. Alternatively. Comparison of Fig. In the above stability considerations. (6) Inspection of (6) indicates that. if the uncompensated system has sufficient transient stability margin. d 20 M dt2 C. Above its maximum rating. NO. The reactive power demand at constant midpoint voltage increases rapidly with increasing power transmission. The adjective "ideal" here means that the amplitude of the midpoint voltage remains costant all the time. Voltage Support The receiving end voltage of a transmission line is a function of the line impedance. Power oscillation damping by static VAr compensator.4. This means that the midpoint voltage is to be increased (by providing capacitive vars) when d(AO)/dt is positive (in orderto increase the transmitted electric power and thereby to oppose the acceleration of the generator). the dynamic behavior of the system can be described by the so-called "swing equation" For small variations. but their angle fu rther increases due to the kinetic energies accumulated in the rotors. for econom ic reasons. Fig. If for a given power level and post-fault system the maximum rotor angle (03 or 0e3) reached is below the critical rotor angle (Ocrit Omit). the "unused" and still available decelerating energy represented by areaSAmarginand A. and its phase angle follows the generator (rotor) angle swings so that the synchronous compensator would not be involved in real power exchange. the transmitted energies in the two systems are represented by areas A1 and electric power exceeds the mechanical input power and the machines decelerate. VOL. in 3(a) and (b).PE is the accelerating power. shunt compensation can increase significantly the transmittable power.) In most practical appl ications. 76. The maximum rotor angles 03 and Oe3 are reached when the decelerating energies defined by areas A2 and Ac2 are eq ual to the accelerating energies defined by areas A1 and Ae1' respectively. If the mechanical angular momentum is M and 8 is the rotor angular position (with respect to a synchronously rotating axis). The mechanical power applied to the generator is PM and the electrical power transm itted to the infinite bus atthe receiving end is Pc.Ae2• After fault clearing.the system will remain transiently or stable. (5) can be written as [4] d 2(il8) OPE M-. the shunt compensator is assumed to be an ideal synchronous compensator.2 + -ilV dt oVm m + -ilo OPE 00 = O. the angle il8 would oscillate undamped with a frequency of Wo = ~Mabl d(ilo) (1aP. the compensator provides either constant current or becomes a constant reactive impedance. and the load power factor. but it would provide the necessary reactive power at the midpoint.margin Fig. The magnitude of the voltage at the receiving end = PM - Pf (5) where the difference PM .

::-. -.00 (Natural 0. Lead ' .. dissimilar loss versus var output characteristics. D.. -.. or absorbing it from. In the case of a weak power system. for example.. with their internal control enabling them to produce var output proportional to an input reference. 5). are termed. More recently. The fact that the maximum transmittable power over a given transmission line can be increased by increasing the reactive power atthe receiving end suggests that with a rapidly variable var source of appropriate rating connected to the receiving end terminal. capacitors generate and reactors (inductors) absorb reactive power when connected to an ac power source.or underexcited rotating synchronous machines and..-~~--------------. Continuously variable var generation or absorption for dynamic system compensation was originally provided by over. This paper deals mainly with presently used static var generators (and the related static var compensators). A static var compensator is thus a static var generator whose output is varied so as to maintain or control specific parameters of the electric power systems.. '~"~'~~k""'--O.. high power semiconductors (thyristors) have been employed in various circuit configurations to produce variable reactive output.-"" ~~:r:- s-: ~ Fig. of a typicallossless (radial) line of given length (and impedance) as a function of the load and load power factor is shown by the dashed lines in Fig. causing the receiving end voltage to collapse. Currently-available large thyristors can block voltage of 4000 to 6000 V and conduct current of 2000 to 4000 A. drawing leading or lagging current of controllable magnitude. and a bidirectional thyristor valve (switch). as shown by the continuous line in Fig. 6(a). 5. The Thyristor-Controlled Reactor (TCR) An elementary single-phase thyristor-controlled reactor (TCR) is shown in Fig. Summary of Compensation Requirements The functional requirements of static var compensators._---. static var generators (SVGs). can cause significant voltage variation at the receiving end. which employ thyristor-controlled reactors with fixed and/or thyristor-switched capacitors.. load changes and the switching of transmission lines. 2) They must be able to regulate (transient stability improvement and VOltage support).9 III.. A thyristor valve can be brought into conduction by simultaneous application of a gate pulsetoall thyristors of the same polarity. / /:~::.-. These semiconductor power circuits. A typical system configuration for potential voltage instability is when a large load area is supplied from two or more generator plants with independent transmission lines. can be stated simply as follows: 1) They must be able to stay in synchronism with the terminal voltage under all conditions... Some of these are the true equivalents of the rotating synchronous condenser. including major disturbances. by saturating reactors in conjunction with fixed capacitors. They have been used with mechanical switches for (coarsely) controlled var generation and absorption since the early days of ac power transmission.. (This frequently happens when. Thevalve GYUGYI: STATIC VAR COMPENSATORS 487 . and voltage support. when the power demand ofthe load exceeds the maximum transmittable power at the given load power factor (see Fig.. Using appropriate switch control. Amplitude variation of the receiving voltage V. used for transient stability improvements. later. Most of the presently used thyristor-controlled static var generators in effect provide a variable shunt impedance by synchronously switching shunt capacitors and/or reactors "in" and "out" of the network. the var output can be controlled conti n uously from maximum capacitive to maximum inductive output at a given network voltage.. The performance and operating characteristics of current var generators are determined by the major thyristorcontrolled constituents: the thyristor-controlled reactor an d the thyristor-switched capacitor. per ClGRE's recommendation [1].. / ~ Lag ~~~ the standpoint of initial capital and operating costs. Other evolving solid-state static var generators prod uce reactive power without the use of actual capacitors or inductors... Thus. a brief description is also given of another emerging technique which uses a solid-state inverter to generate controllable reactive power without the use of capacitors or reactors.. in a practical valve many thyristors (typically 10 to 40) are connected in series to meet the required blocking voltage levels at a given power rating.. all of the solid-state approaches for var generation and control provide functional characteristics and response times compatible with the dynamic compensation requirements of power systems. or control (power oscillation damping) rapidly the terminal voltage by generating reactive power for. However. 5. as a function of load P and load power factor (dashed lines). others act almost like ideal reactive current sources. the receiving end voltage may collapse ("voltage instability").) The loss of one of the power sources could suddenly increase the load demand on the remaining part of the system above the maximum transmittable power level. the locally generated power is inadequate to supply a large load area and additional power is imported over a separate transmission link..97 0. In the extreme case. or large capacitor and reactor banks. Lag p By definition..9 0. transformers. in particular. voltage collapse could be prevented and constant terminal voltage maintained. Possible voltage regulation with a variable VAr source (continuous line)... from A.. METHODS OF VARIABLE VAR GENERATION Loadl o .. power oscillation damping. However.-.::-. in which the magnitude of the internally generated ac voltage is varied to control the var output. It consists of a fixed (usually aircore) reactor of inductance L.. As will be seen. 5. the ac power system. static var compensators can differ significantly due to different space and installation requirements and._-...97 Lead 1.

APRIL 1988 . Under balanced conditions. the thyristor-controlled reactor generates harmonics..) n = . control malfunction causing capacitor switching at a "wrong time"). . v = V sin »t. three single-phase thyristor-controlled reactors are used. Fixed-Capacitor. the TSC bank could be switched in again. 7. In a three-phase system. In other words. That is. ninth. k = 1.1). and th irteenth are 13. and thus the du rations ofthe current conduction intervals are controlled. and w is the angular frequency of the applied voltage. NO. Vc = Vn2/(n2 .. Under steady-state conditions. given by the following expression: ILn(c. The Thyristor-Switched Capacitor (TSC) The TSC branch can be disconnected ("switched out") at any current zero by prior removal of the gate drive to the thyristor valve. The magnitude of the other harmonics generated by the thyristor-controlled reactors can be reduced [4] by multipulse and multibank circuits. of the maximum fundamental current. The amplitude lu(a) of the fundamental reactor current iura) can be expressed as a function of angle a 21'2) lu(a) = -V( 1 . it may also be used to avoid resonances with the ac system impedance at particular frequencies. the closure of the thyristor valve is delayed with respect to the peak of the appl ied voltage in each half cycle.Jw2LC = ~~. The current in the reactor is varied by the previously discussed method of fi ring delay angle control. !Xc (12) _ ~i - wL 7r [sin a cos (na) .) and its fundamental component in (a) are shown at various delay angles. eleventh. but 488 PROCEEDINGS OF THE IEEE.. without any transient at the appropriate peak of the applied ac voltage. fifth. the voltage across the nonconducting thyristor valve varies between zero and the peak-to-peak value of the applied ac voltage. 6. C. the current in the branch is given by isteady-state = V-z-- n2 n -1 wC cos wt (11) wL a (9) 7r 7r where 1 where V is the amplitude of the applied ac voltage. 76. by a filter network that has the necessary capacitive impedance at the fundamental frequency to generate the vars required. The amplitudes of these are a function of angle a. a bidirectional thyristor valve.59 percent. the triplen harmonic currents. only odd harmonics are generated.78 percent. VOl. a.2. as illustrated in Fig. The current in the reactor can be controlled from maximum (thyristor valve closed) to zero (thyristor valve open) by the method of fi ring delay angle control. As Fig. etc. 5W (a) (b) Fig. Thus.Sin Fig. 3. fifteenth. This reactor is needed primarily to limit the surge current in the thyristor valve under abnormal operating A basic var generator arrangement using a fixed (permanently connected) capacitor with a thyristor-controlled reactor (FC-TCR) is shown functionally in Fig. when the voltage across the thyristor is zero. L is the inductance of the thyristor-controlled reactor. unless the gate signal is reapplied. Basic thyristor-controlled waveforms (b). ninth.57 percent. 1. B.4. The maximum amplitudes of the most significant harmon ics.1) (10) where n = 2k + 1. This can be accomplished with the minimum possible transient disturbance if the thyristor valve is tu rned on at those instants at which the capacitor residual voltage and the applied ac voltage are equal. capacitor bank (a) and conditions (e. where the reactor current iL(c. 6(b) illustrates. 7(b)..75 percent.1). 2. respectively. usually in delta connection. fu lIy or partially. 6(b).05 percent and 0. A basic thyristor-switched associated waveforms (b). (third. Thyristor-Controlled Generator Reactor Type VAr A single-phase thyristor-switched capacitor (TSC) is shown in Fig. 7(a). The disconnected capacitor stays charged to this voltage and. the conduction angle control results in a nonsinusoidal current waveform in the reactor. 8(a). It consists of a capacitor. the reconnection of the capacitor may have to be executed at some residual capacitor voltage between zero and Vn 2/(n2 . the capacitor bank is allowed to discharge after disconnection.a .05 percent. and a relatively small surge current limiting reactor.. when the thyristor valve is closed and the TSC branch is connected to a sinusoidal ac voltage source..g. At the current zero crossing. For identical positive and negative current halfcycles. Normally.Q 'l(OI L BIc:lI~ectional Thyristor Valve. or by filtering. the capacitor voltage is at its peak value. th ird.n cos a sin (na)] n(n z . 5. consequently. that is.) circulate in the delta connected TCRs and do not enter the power system. This method of current control is illustrated in Fig. reactor (a) and associated (a) (b) will automatically block immediately after the ac current crosses zero. If the voltage across the disconnected capacitor remained unchanged. The fixed capacitor in practice is usually su bstituted. 1. seventh.

increase with the increasing TCR current and.I"'"I~1 • I I ~ __ ~R':lr~g ~1 •. GYUGYI: STATIC VAR COMPENSATORS 489 . resulting in a net inductive var output. The fourth function is the thyristor firing pulse genera- lout = Ie-ILF( al (Ic> ILF (all - IC=IlF(al CapacHive Inductive lout=IlF(al (ILF( 01) lei -IC Fig. Ic from t. The operation of the FC-TCR type var generator is illustrated by the waveforms in Fig. with increasing capacitive var output. At the maximum capacitive var output. in industrial applications requiring power factor correction. This is simply done by subtracting the (scaled) amplitude of the capacitor current. as for example. the inductive current becomes larger than the capacitive current. The number of branches n is determined by practical considerations that include the operating voltage level. 8 is advantageous when the average capacitive var output is relatively high as. in the case of dynamic compensation of power transmission systems. it provides a low impedance at selected frequencies to shunt the dominant harmonics produced by the TCR. Thvristor-Controlled Reactor Type VAr Generator The thyristor-switched capacitor.As seen. 8(a). A basic single-phase TSC-TCR arrangement is shown in Fig. to the var generator control.5 A) for the thyristors in response to the output signal provided by the reactive current to firing angle converter. current rating of the thyristor valves. the thyristor-controlled reactor is off (a = 90°). to yield the total var output required. The loss versus var output characteristic of the FC-TCR typevar generator is shown in Fig. bus work. The control of the thyristor-controlled reactor in the FCTCR type var generator needs to provide four basic functions as shown in Fig. 8(b). For a given capacitive output range. and it is disadvantageous when the average var output is low. To decrease the capacitive output. In this arrangement. Loss versus VAr output characteristic of a fixedcapacitor. 10. One function is synchronous timing. it consists of n TSC branches and one TCR. D. This function is usually provided by a phase-locked loop circuitthatruns in precise synchronism with the ac system voltage and generates appropriate timing pulses with respect to the peak of that voltage.9. With a further decrease of angle IX (assuming that the rating of the reactor is greater than that of the capacitor). the constant capacitive var generation of the fixed capacitor is opposed by the variable var absorption of the thyristor-controlled rector. The loss versus var output characteristic shown in Fig.A~le_:o~o~ __ J I tion. This is accomplished by the firing pulse generator circuit which produces a relatively large gate current pulse (initial peak is typically 1. for example. there are appreciable losses (typically about 1 percent of rated capacitive output) because the zero var output is obtained indirectly. thyristor-controlled reactor (TSC-TCR) type var generator was developed primarily for dynamic compensation of power transmission systems with the intention of minimizing standby losses and providing increased operating flexibility. At zero var output. the total losses v (a) i ~~e~ •• D~e~a the Necessary Cancellation of the Fixed Capacitor Current lal =!1-~ a-~ 'In2al Firing Pulses IFP) (b) Fig. thyristor-controlled reactor type static VAr generator. Functional control schemefor the FC-TCR type static VAr generator (a) and associated waveforms illustrating operating principles (b). Thyristor-Switched Capacitor. The second function is the reactive current (or admittance) to firing angle conversion. This can be provided by a real time circuit implementation of the mathematical relationship betwen the amplitude of the fundamental TCR current ItF(a) and the delay angle a given by (9). by canceling the fixed capacitive var with inductive vars.::. 9.8. maximum var output. the current in the reactor is increased by decreasing delay angle a. consequently decrease. The third function is the computation of the required fundamental reactor current lu from the req uested var generator output current that is provided as the amplitude reference input l. At zero var output. and installation cost. the capacitive and inductive currents become equal and thus the capacitive and inductive var perfectly cancel.

Functional control scheme static VAr generator. and the current iL drawn by the thyristor-controlled reactor. a hysteresis between the "switching in" and "switching out" var levels is usually employed in practice. the output is controllable in the var main to 2var main. In the first interval. each major constituent of a static var generator (capacitor. and nth intervals. This type of 1055 characteristic is clearly advantageous in those applications in which the var generator is used for dynamic compensation and is not required to provide high average var output for the normally functioning power system. ITotal = IC + IL . and 3) varies the current in the TCR by firing delay angle control... third. = current reference to SVG input. The oscillograms show the reactive current refer- VArietal = V II Icn -ILF( 01 ) (a) (b) Fig. 9(b) as follows: The total capacitive output range is divided into n intervals. there are the added losses of the TCR. . where var max is the total rating provided by all TSC branches. As the capacitive output is increased. the current icdrawn by the thyristor-switched capacitor banks. ic = sum of the TSC currents. with each switched-in TSC ban k. on the average.. . the losses are zero or almost zero. 11. thyristor valve SW1) and. ence signal I" the total output current iT (=ic + iLl. 12. Thus. the current in the TCR is set by the appropriate firing delay angle so that the sum ofthe var output of the TSC (negative) and that of the TCR (positive) equals the capacitive output required.CapacHive) 0 . 2) controls the switching of the TSC branches in a "transient-free" manner. third. in these var generators the thyristor valves function simply as control elements. Waveforms illustrating the operation of the thyristor-switched capacitor.VOl. 12. as illustrated in Fig. . . the TCRcurrent is zero or negligibly small.. In the second. reac- 490 PROCEEDINGSOF THE IEEE. iTo'" = sum of TSC and TCR currents.r QLoul 3varmaxln. = TCR current. the losses increase by a fixed amou nt. In this interval. the presently used static var generators are comprised of fixed or thyristorswitched capacitors and thyristor-controlled reactors._ IC -IL ='cJ + IC2 + 'c3 Fig. one capacitor bank is switched in (by firing. simultaneously.. which vary from maximum to zero between successive switchings of the TSC banks. The loss versus var output characteristic of the TSC-TCR type var generator follows from its basic operating principle. i. an increasing number of TSC banks are switched in with the TCR absorbing the surplus capacitive vars. Of course./ Ir IIr IIr etc. in proportion with the var output. the losses of the TSCTCR type var generator vary. NO. A functional control scheme for the TSC-TCR type var generator is shown in Fig. . the output of the var generator is controllable in the zero to var main range.1) varma/n to varma< range by switching in the second. All Solid-State Var Generators • TSC n "on" Request Request ! ~etal U2 TSC2 "on" TSC1 OnlOff Control Required Capacitor and Reactor Current Computation TCR Firing Delay Angle Control U2 Fig. Basic TSC-TCR type static VAr generator (a) and its VAr demand versus VAr output characteristic (b). varying the reactive power generated by the capacitor and reactor banks. and computes the amplitude of the inductive current needed to cancel the surplus capacitive current. 2var max1n to > < 0 .) At or slightly below zero var output. Overall. Consequently. for example. 11.and nth capacitor banks and using the TCR to absorb the surplus capacitive vars. I. 10. Thus. 13. (Refer to Fig. and consequently.Inductivel "<. 76. 10. The operation of the basic TSC-TCR var generator can be described with reference to Fig.. the inductive range also can be expanded to any maximum rating by employing additional TCR branches. for the TSC-TCR type As discussed in the previous sections.4. thyristor-controlled reactor type static VAr generator. E. . and (n . . The operation of the TSC-TCR type var generator with three capacitor banks is illustrated by the oscillograms in Fig. all capacitor banks are switched out. It provides three major functions: 1) determines the number of TSC branches needed to be switched in to approximate the required capacitive output current (with a positive surplus). To this fixed loss. In order to avoid indeterminate switching.. APRIL 1988 .

although the basic operating principles remain valid for any waveshape produced by a practical inverter. increasing E above the amplitude V of the system voltage causes leading (capacitive) current to be drawn from the ac system. a function of the type. reactive power flow the three-phase induced electromotive forces (EMSs) e1. test site of the Orange and Rockland Utilities. whereas decreasing E below Vproduces a lagging (inductive) load on the ac system. a potentially significant size and cost reduction could be achieved. it absorbs no real power from the ac system and thus its losses have to be replenished from a separate dc supply. as described above. There are a number of possible approaches [2] to the generation of controllable reactive power without the use of capacitors or reactors.k. and V3' By controlling the excitation of the machine. circuit configuration."os ~ ~ ~ '01 '02 '0) Inverter (a) ~ Static Inverter 'DC I (b) Fig. Staticvoltage-sourcetypevar generator employing a dc/ac inverter. Suppose that the outputs of a three-phase inverter are connected through three inductors to an ac system as shown in Fig. This ripple current is. These approaches employ various dc-to-ac or ac-to-ac converter ci rcu its. That is to say. V02. NY. and V03 are kept in phase with the ac system voltages v. However. 15. increasing Vaabove the amplitude V of the system voltages causes leading (capacitive) current to be drawn from the ac system and vice versa. In contrast to the conventional var generators. A real component of current will then flow from the ac system to the inverter. in October 1986. When the inverter is operated strictly as a reactive power source. is being currently field tested. where the thyristors are naturally commutated at current zero crossings. 15(a). ez. For purely reactive power flow the 'ot +-lout ~ ~Icn -ILF( 01 Capacitive Inductive -00 ioZ ~ '01 '02 Static 'ec I 'DC I DoC Voltage Supply -60 Fig. the reactive power can be controlled from full leading to full lagging. using a GTO (gate turn-off) thyristor inverter has been developed recently [5] under ESEERCO(Empire State Electric Energy Research Corporation) sponsorship. 14. Under either operating condition a small amount of real power of course flows from the ac system to the machine to supply its mechanical and electrical losses. the inverter type (and other similar all solid-state) var generators require semiconductor power switches with intrinsic turn-off capability (otherwise force commutating circuits are required which would make the approach Fig. the reactive power can be controlled. V2' and V3' By controlling the amplitude Vaof the inverter output voltages.. The de reservoir capacitor has to carry the input "ripple" current of the inverter. decreasing Vo below V results in lagging (inductive current in the ac system. 13. The basic operating principle of this voltage source type static var generator is similar to that of a rotating synchronous condenser shown schematically in Fig. 15(b)) and each inverter output voltage is made to lag slightly the corresponding ac system voltage. and hence GYUGYI: STATIC VAR COMPENSATORS 491 .the amplitude E of its voltage. the dc supply can be dispensed with if a suitable dc reservoir capacitor is used (Fig. A dc-to-ac inverter can be represented at its (ac) output terminal as a voltage source. 14. V2. thyristor-controlled reactor type static VAr generator. -n. Basicvoltage-sourcetype var generator employing a rotating synchronous condenser. For the present discussion it is assumed that the inverter output voltages are sinusoids. and the losses will be accommodated thereby. tor.. inverter output voltages V01. and a ± 1 Mvar demonstration unit installed at the Spring Valley. of course. Inc. LossversusVAr output characteristic of athyristorswitched capacitor. it can generally be accommodated quite readily when the output currents are reasonably balanced. and operating mode of the inverter used. thyristor valve) has a similar VA rating.. For purely . it follows that if both var generation and contro/were accomplished by solid-state means without the use of passive storage elements. however. A particu lar approach. and e3 of the synchronous rotating machines are in phase with the system voltages v1.. and thus every one of them contributes sign ificantly to the size and cost of the equipment. Therefore.

it is allowed to be higher than the nominal value at full inductive compensation. conversely. Load line 1 intersects the SVC V-I characteristic at V. is derived and summed to the reference V.) The terminal voltage Vr of the power system can be characterized by a generally varying amplitude Vr and angular frequency WT' The static var generator includes TSC and TCR banks (or a GTO inverter) which are controlled so that the amplitude lcomp of the reactive current icomp drawn from the power system follows the current reference I. and power oscillation damping. and increases transient (first swing) stability limits. so that VT is maintained precisely at the level of the reference voltage in face of power system and load changes. A currently available semiconductor with suitable rating and characteristic is the eTa thyristor. the static var compensator is not used as a perfect terminal voltage regulator. defining the terminal voltage versus output current characteristic of the compensator. Icomp is closed-loop controlled via input I. V. is summed to the fixed reference Vr in order to obtain the desired actual (variable) reference signal that controls the terminal voltage in a closed-loop manner. but rather the terminal voltage is allowed to vary in proportion with the compensating current. together with particular "load lines" (voltage versus reactive current characteristics) of the ac system.. and a tendency of oscillation. whereas appropriate control (variation) of the terminal voltage is needed to achieve power oscillation damping. General control scheme of a static VAr compensator. A signal proportional to the amplitude of the compensating current Klcomp' with an ordered polarity (capacitive current is negative and inductive current is positive).impractical). they are sufficiently large to make the all sol id-state var generator economically viable at the present time. the output current of the compensator becomes similar to that obtainable with a fixed capacitor or reactor. The actual reference controlling the terminal voltage thus becomes v SlalicVAr remeensator rc _j L _ Direct Inpull() SVG Auxiliary tneuts V..u derived from the auxiliary inputs. respectively. Specifically. VOL. If the proper compensation of the ac power system requires some specific variation in the amplitude of the terminal voltage against time or some other variable. A. is shown in Fig. IV. V. For further terminal voltage changes. etc. Although maximum voltage and current ratings of 4500 V and 2500 A (peak turn-off) for available C'I'Os are smaller than those of the largest conventional thyristors. would reduce cost and losses. In order to meet the general compensation requirements of a power system. The Regulation Slope In many applications. the SVG is operated as a perfect Equation (13) indicates that and thus the amplitude of the terminal voltage VT decreases from the fixed no-load value with increasing capacitive current (as determined by the slope K). converting a static var generator into a transmission line var compensator. 76. The auxiliary inputs are used commonly for voltage regulation slope. second. prevents voltage instability (voltage collapse). and. APRIL 1988 . making the broad application of this var generation approach in power transmission and distribution systems possible within the next decade. 492 PROCEEDINGS OF THE IEEE. NO. the error aVT is processed and amplified by a PI (proportional integral) controller to provide the current reference I. it increases with increasing inductive compensating current until the maxi m um capacitive or. There are several reasons for this: First. Further advances in high power smeiconductor technology. (The impedance variation in time is due to faults. The desired regulation slope. V. A typical terminal voltage versus output current characteristic of a static var com pensator with a specific slope is shown in Fig. V.. and third. In other words. is represented by a generator with a generally varying motor angle o and source impedance Z (including the generator and transmission line impedances) that is a function of the angular frequency wand time t. the output of the static var generator is controlled to maintain or vary the voltage at selected terminal points of the transmission line. at the terminal of the SVC. 17. a regulation "droop" or slope tends to enforce automatic load sharing between static var compensators as well as other voltage regulating devices. CONTROL OF STATIC VAR COMPENSATORS As discussed in Section II terminal voltage control can enhance significantly the power transmission capability of the power system. ifthe system impedance exhibited a "flat" region (low impedance) in the operating frequency range of interest. With the basic static var compensator control. inductive compensating current is reached. A general control scheme.16. 16. can be established by a minor control loop using one of the auxiliary inputs. terminal voltage regulator: the amplitude V-of the terminal voltage VT is measured and compared with the voltage reference v. the linear operating range of a compensator with given maximum capacitive and inductive ratings can be extended if a regulation "droop" is allowed.4. perfect regulation (zero droop or slope) could result in a poorly defined operating point. (13) The power system. This device can be both tu rned on and off by a su itable gate drive current. Regulation "droop" means that the terminal voltage is allowed to be smaller than the nominal no-load value at full capacitive compensation and.for the SVG. resulting in higher device ratings and better switching characteristics. + K1comp. = Fig. conversely. then an appropriate correcting signal V. line switching. the regulation of the voltage at particular terminals of the transmission system limits voltage variation.

I I I . IA-15. L. the nominal (reference) voltage. in particular. Rotor angle changes. W. Other emerging power electronic ci rcuits. :I I I I I I I I I . Ltd. Working Group 3801. England. can provide controllable var output without capacitors or reactors. power oscillation damping generally requires the variation of the voltage at the terminal of the SVC in proportion to the rate of change of the effective rotor (or power transmission) angle. of course. PA. [3] [4] B.D.2 on SVC. where he obtained the M. V·I characteristic ______J of the static VAr compensator. Appl. He received the Ph. L. the var output is varied in concert with frequency (or power flow) variations so as to damp power oscillations. the static var compensator is operated essentially as a voltage regulator: the var output is varied so as to minimize terminal voltage variation during and. PA. 1986. Ind. In a possible control scheme. Its intersection with the SVC V-I characteristic calls for the capacitive compensating current Ic2• Load line 3 is above load line 1 due to an increase in the power system voltage(for example. vol. the terminal voltage is increased when. the freq uency deviation L!.." presented at the 1987 Symp. 222-227. I I I / Jlema• 'e2 ~ Range 113 JILmax I. for example. as well as for transient (first swing) stability improvement. studied mathematics at the University of London. using gate turn-off (GTO) thyristors. and electrical engineering at the Universityof Pittsbu rgh. in 1970. Modern power electron ics technology has provided new and superior means for dynamic var compensation.SUMMARY With I I I . "Fundamentals of thyristor-controlled static var compensators in electric power system applications. Gyugyi. A.) Its intersection with the SVC V-I characteristic defines the inductive compensating current 1[3. "Reactive power generation and control by thyristor circuits. generator outage). thus the output current of the compensator is zero. REFERENCES [1] [2] I. "Analysis of power system stability enhancement by static var compensators..----eompensatlon Fig. England. 17. Erinmez. then joined the Westinghouse Research Laboratories.d(L!. The fundamental purpose of static var compensation is to increase the transmission capacity ofthe power system. Pittsburgh." IEEE Trans. 5. 521-532.The intersection points of the load line 2 and 3 with the vertical (voltage) axis define the terminal voltage variation without any compensation. pp. 31-Feb.. The added signal causes the output current of the SVC to vary (oscillate) around the fixed operating point to control the terminal voltage so as to aid system damping. Ed." IEEE Trans. Hammad. ClGRE. During his professional career. result in frequency and real power variations. pp. degree from the University of Salford." paper 38 WM 109-1. or that of the real power.. load rejection. Power Oscillation Damping As is shown in Section II-B.S. Budapest. C. 4. I' /! " ~ 'I : : : ' : : . England. 5. "Advanced static var generator employing GTO thyristors. Nov. PWRS-1. involving precision laboratory data recording and measuring instru- GYUGYI: STATIC VAR COMPENSATORS 493 . presented at theWinter Meeting ofthe IEEE Power Engineering Society. on Application of Static Var Systems for System Dynamic Performance. 87TH0187·5· PWR. For receiving end terminal voltage support.. is summed to the fixed reference voltage signal VI at the auxiliary input..E. he has carried out research and development in different fields of electronics. 1986. no. A. fT . This can be achieved by providing voltage support and increased stability margins. 1979. degree in 1967.fT is negative (to reduce the transmitted electrical power and thereby oppose the deceleration of the generators). [5] laszlo Gyugyi received his basic technical education at the Poly technical University. Jan. That is. Pittsburgh. the signal corresponding to the variation of the system frequency. following major power system disturbances. Power Systems. Task Force No. no..1988.E. For dynamic stability improvement. A static var generator can be converted into a ststic var compensator by external (usually closed) control loops. where he is now Manager of the Power Electronics Department. 17. High power thyristor valves are capable of switching large capacitor banks and controlling current in reactor banks accurately and rapidly. which vary the var output so as to maintain or control specific parameters of the ac power system. In practice. Static Var Compensators. He worked at the Epsylon Research and Development Co. no. Sept. Edwards et el. from 1958 to 1963. Load line 2 is below load line 1 due to a decrease in the power system voltage (for example.b) dt is positive (in order to increase the transmitted electrical power and thereby to oppose the acceleration of the generators) and it is decreased when L!.. usually the variation of the system frequency orthetransmitted real power is measured and used for controlling the var output to produce the terminal voltage variation desired. Gyugyi. The thyristor-controlled reactors (rCRsj are used presently in combination with fixed or thyristorswitched capacitors (TSCs) to form a static var generator whose output is continuously variable over a specified capacitive and inductive range.lOct. IEEE Publ. The terminal voltage variation with compensation is entirely determined by the regulation slope as indicated in Fig. vol.

he is responsible for the research and development of power electronics equipment and systems for aerospace. NO. active and passive power filters. APRIL 1988 . Gyugyi is a Fellow in the I nstitution of Electrical Engineers. NY. His areas of special expertise include variable-speed-constant frequency (V5CF) power generators. 494 PROCEEDINGS OF THE IEEE. He is coauthor of the book Static Power Frequency Changers (New York. and a member of both the CI GREand IEEEWorking Groups on Static VAR Compensators. Thyristor-Controlled Shunt Compensators for Power Transmission System Applications. IEEE Power Engineering Society. and utility applications. respectively). He has nu merous societal publications and won the Prize Paper Award. McGraw-Hili. In his current position. for the paper entitled "Characteristics of Static. analog and digital control systems. and cycloconverters. Dr. and static reactive power (VAR) compensating systems. inverters. 501 id-state motor drives. NY." He holds 60 patents. and various power converters. in 1982.4. industrial. 1976). Wiley. VOL 76.ments. high voltage thyristor valves. and author of the section "Power Frequency Changers" both in the Electronics Engineer's Handbook and the Electrical Engineer's Handbook (New York. variable-speed ac motor drives. 1975 and 1980.