VAR compensation is defined as the management of reactive power to improve the performance of ac power systems. The concept of VAR compensation embraces a wide and diverse field of both system and customer problems, especially related with power quality issues, since most of power quality problems can be attenuated or solved with an adequate control of reactive power.
REACTIVE POWER COMPENSATION PRINCIPLES
In a linear circuit, the reactive power is defined as the ac component of the instantaneous power, with a frequency equal to 100 / 120 Hz in a 50 or 60 Hz system. The reactive power generated by the ac power source is stored in a capacitor or a reactor during a quarter of a cycle, and in the next quarter cycle is sent back to the power source.
In other words, the reactive power oscillates between the ac source and the capacitor or reactor, and also between them, at a frequency equals to two times the rated value (50 or 60 Hz). For this reason it can be compensated using VAR generators, avoiding its circulation between the load (inductive or capacitive) and the source, and therefore improving voltage stability of the power system. Reactive power compensation can be implemented with VAR generators connected in parallel or in series.
TRADITIONAL VAR GENERATORS
In general, VAR generators are classified depending on the technology used in their implementation and the way they are connected to the power system (shunt or series).
Rotating and static generators were commonly used to compensate reactive power. In the last decade, a large number of different static VAR generators, using power electronic technologies have been proposed and developed. There are two approaches to the realization of power electronics based VAR compensators, the one that employs thyristor-swicthed capacitors and reactors with tapchanging transformers, and the other group that uses selfcommutated static converters.
VAR COMPENSATOR´S APPLICATIONS
The implementation of high performance reactive power compensators enable power grid owners to increase existing transmission network capacity while maintaining or improving the operating margins necessary for grid stability. As a result, more power can reach consumers with a minimum impact on the environment, after substantially shorter project implementation times, and at lower investment costs - all compared to the alternative of building new transmission lines or power generation facilities.