Overview

Terna S.p.A.—the owner and operator of 98% of the nation’s high-voltage power grid—needed reactive power and a boost in system inertia for its Brindisi substation in southern Italy, and turned to GE for support.

The challenge

Italy’s grid is being challenged by the growth of installed renewable energy sources, along with a parallel reduction in thermal power. Terna S.p.A.—the owner and operator of 98% of the nation’s high-voltage power grid—needed reactive power and a boost in system inertia for its Brindisi substation in southern Italy, to ensure dependable electricity for residents and businesses in the region. 

The solution

GE’s first condensers for Terna were installed in 2015. Building on that relationship, Terna and GE partnered again on four more synchronous condensers for its plants in Sardinia and Calabria. Two more condensers—and multiple flywheel units— were commissioned for its Brindisi substation. An additional two were added, and all eight synchronous condensers supply reactive power of up to +250/-125 MVAr and 1,750 MW inertia.

Outcomes

The result

+250/-125

condenser MVAr capability

10,500 MW

of total system inertia

20 million

Italians depending on Terna

GE’s scope in the latest project at the Brindisi substation included design, civil works, supply, and installation of two electrical TOPAIR two-pole generators, plus all electrical and mechanical auxiliaries. The balance-of-plant scope includes protection and control as well as monitoring and diagnostics.

GE’s synchronous condenser technology helps Terna quickly regulate the parameters of Italy’s transmission network, generate or absorb reactive energy, regulate voltage, and increase the overall inertia of the power grid with its new flywheel system.

In total, GE strategically integrated eight synchronous condenser units with Terna, supplying up to 1,820 MVAr of reactive power for Italy’s power grid with a value of 10,500 MW of inertia, helping to stabilize the grid for the more than 20 million people who live in the Sardinia region, Sicily, and southern Italy.