ALSTOM to Supply SVC to Xcel Energy

April 22, 2003 by Jeff Shepard

ALSTOM has won a contract to supply its Static Var Compensator (SVC) technology to Xcel Energy (formerly Northern States Power Company). The equipment will strengthen Xcel's network in southwestern Minnesota, where large wind farms are coming on line to provide clean power to the Minneapolis metropolitan area. ALSTOM's static var technology will help stabilize the network and facilitate improved transmission to users.

Xcel is one of many utilities in the United States experiencing growth in wind farm power generation. The growth is mainly taking place in rural farmland areas. Xcel, therefore, needs a dependable channel through which it can bring this "electrical" crop from the wind farm to the market. By installing ALSTOM's efficient SVC technology at its 115kV Lake Yankton substation in Minnesota, Xcel will be equipped to instantaneously provide reactive power support to minimize voltage fluctuations at any given time, particularly during weak ac system conditions. Additional benefits offered by this technology are an increase in power transfer capabilities, regulation of power factor, reduction of losses, and an overall improvement to the steady and dynamic performance of the transmission system.

ALSTOM's SVC system will be directly connected to an existing 34.5 kV bus at the Lake Yankton substation. It will include a Thyristor Controlled Reactor (TCR) rated for 85 Mvar and two harmonic filter banks rated 60 Mvar in total to provide the dynamic reactive capability range as required by Xcel. ALSTOM's latest control technology will be used for the precise control of the device.

As the sole provider of major equipment on this project, ALSTOM, through its Transmission and Distribution (T&D) Sector, will supply the SVC equipment from its Pennsylvania based factory. The equipment will be in service by the end of April 2004. Brian Pope, President of ALSTOM T&D Inc., said, "This is a fine example of how our technology can adapt to the current demands of the market. With the integration of wind power generation becoming a more common challenge for utilities, we stand ready to assist and facilitate this progression with a superior range of systems, services and products." ALSTOM is positioning itself to become increasingly more involved in opportunities presented by the expanding renewable energy market, not only through its static var technology, but also through its offering of distribution transformers, medium voltage switchgear and reactors to meet the market's needs.