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Published on July 30th, 2014 | by Joshua S Hill

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Renewable Energy Pushing Utilities & Grid Operators To Invest In FACTS

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July 30th, 2014 by
 
Though the first flexible alternating current transmission systems (FACTS) were implemented in electric grids in the 1920s, the recent surge in renewable energy deployment has rapidly increased their demand. And according to a new report compiled by Navigant Research, utilities and grid operators are soon to be investing more than $42 billion into FACTS between 2014 and 2022.

Flexible alternating current transmission systems mitigate drops in voltage across a power grid — not something that was as vital in the 1900s with their reliance upon very stable fossil-fuel energy sources. However, with the recent increase in renewable energy sources being installed across energy grids the world over, FACTS have become a necessity.

“New utility-scale generation resources like wind farms and large solar parks now compete with traditional coal, gas, and nuclear generation plants in global markets, creating new transmission grid problems and opportunities,” the authors write, adding that “the installation of FACTS solutions will continue, both to replace existing aging infrastructure and to support the trouble-free interconnection of wind and renewable generation.”

“The majority of electricity transmission systems in service today rely on many of the same technologies that existed at their conception more than a century ago,” says James McCray, senior research analyst with Navigant Research.

“Sophisticated FACTS technologies demonstrate tremendous potential to provide solutions to problems, such as localized voltage sag, power factor fluctuations, and flicker, that are caused by renewables intermittency, increasing industrial loads, and power plant retirements.”

The study also showed that the FACTS industry will surpass $5 billion in annual revenue worldwide by 2022, thanks primarily to the “rapid worldwide expansion in large-scale wind and solar projects.”

“Flexible AC transmission systems can be used creatively to help solve some of the most demanding transmission challenges on the power grid,” said McCray. “These new distributed solutions are showing tremendous potential for helping to correct problems like localized voltage sag, power factor fluctuations, and flicker.”

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About the Author

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, a liberal left-winger, and believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (.co.uk), and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at about.me for more.



  • Roger Pham

    With advancement in DC to DC conversion, and solar, wind, battery, and fuel cell all output DC electricity, why not move to a DC grid and use inverter for legacy appliances that still require AC?
    For example, a high-voltage DC line of 100,000 volts can connect 1000 houses in series so each house will see on average voltage drop of 100 Volts? Shunts and voltage regulators can be placed to avoid excessive voltage or a break in the circuitry.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Lots of problems.

      They all add up to cost.

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