Siemens Energy’s reactive power compensation technology helps advance CO 2-free power supply in California

March 24, 2021

  • Reactive power compensation plant based on SVC PLUS technology
  • Project execution time of only 16 months
  • Enables smooth integration of large amounts of wind and solar power into the grid


Siemens Energy will supply a reactive power compensation plant to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). The plant will enhance operations at Barren Ridge Switching Station, LADWP’s renewable energy transmission facility in Kern County, California, about 80 miles north of Los Angeles. The plant will be based on Siemens Energy’s SVC PLUS technology that combines the benefits of static synchronous compensation (STATCOM) and modular multilevel converter (MMC) technology. The fast response of the STATCOM stabilizes the transmission system when the amount of power generated by solar, wind or hydro generation changes. The MMC technology allows the implementation of this complex technology in a very small footprint compared to traditional solutions. The new ±200 megavolt ampere (MVAr) SVC PLUS will provide the necessary voltage support needed in the area, where LADWP has significantly increased renewable energy generation. 

“Constantly increasing the share of CO 2-free, climate-neutral electricity in our grid is one of our most important challenges,” said Reiko Kerr, Senior Assistant General Manager, Power System Engineering and Technical Services at LADWP. “In addition to building new wind and solar power plants, targeted investments in our electricity transmission infrastructure are crucial to achieving our renewable energy goals. Barren Ridge will provide long-term grid stability for our customers while supporting increasing amounts of renewable energy in our portfolio.”

“The great advantage of our SVC PLUS technology is that it is even faster than conventional solutions,” said Beatrix Natter, Executive Vice President Transmission at Siemens Energy. “In addition, it offers high flexibility regarding design and layout of converters and substations. Its modularity and low number of system components also reduce commissioning time compared to complex conventional SVC systems. This enables a short execution time of only 16 months for the Barren Ridge project so that the reactive power compensation is ready in time to prevent voltage collapses or even blackouts.”

The heart of the SVC PLUS will be two three-phase step-down transformers with 230-kilovolt (kV) and 200-MVA capacity and an industrial-class insulated gate bipolar transistors (IGBT) based converter. This important installation supports LADWP’s ongoing network enhancement by the application of robust technology that continues to prove its value in more than 120 installations worldwide. In addition to the plant, Siemens Energy will provide extended warranty that will maximize availability and operating flexibility for LADWP. Commissioning of the plant is planned for summer 2022 after an execution time of only 16 months.

Siemens Energy SVC PLUS is an advanced STATCOM, a solution for voltage regulation in the power grid. Voltage fluctuations can arise due to different factors, such as the volatile infeed of energy from renewable sources or the connection and disconnection of energy-intensive industrial plants. Many large power plants, which used to provide the necessary reactive power to compensate these fluctuations, are leaving the grid as a result of global decarbonization. Grid operators around the world are responding by building STATCOM systems.



Christina Huemmer

Siemens Energy 


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Siemens Energy is one of the world’s leading energy technology companies. The company works with its customers and partners on energy systems for the future, thus supporting the transition to a more sustainable world. With its portfolio of products, solutions and services, Siemens Energy covers almost the entire energy value chain – from power generation and transmission to storage. The portfolio includes conventional and renewable energy technology, such as gas and steam turbines, hybrid power plants operated with hydrogen, and power generators and transformers. More than 50 percent of the portfolio has already been decarbonized. A majority stake in the listed company Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE) makes Siemens Energy a global market leader for renewable energies. An estimated one-sixth of the electricity generated worldwide is based on technologies from Siemens Energy. Siemens Energy employs more than 90,000 people worldwide in more than 90 countries and generated revenue of around €27.5 billion in fiscal year 2020.