Synchronous condensers and flywheels to support renewable power in Italy

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GE will provide two synchronous condensers and flywheel units to Italian grid operator Terna S.p.A. for the Brindisi substation in southern Italy. Each synchronous condenser unit will supply reactive power of up to +250/-125 MVAr and 1750 MWs inertia to support the stability of Italy’s grid.

The intermittent nature of renewable sources, coupled with the many challenges stressing the electrical infrastructure, requires a significant effort to mitigate disturbances. GE’s synchronous condensers will be installed at strategic locations along the transmission system to produce or absorb reactive power to keep the power flowing consistently to the grid – helping to ensure reliable power is available for those who need it, when they need it.

As part of its portfolio of renewable steam offerings, GE’s synchronous condensers are designed to quickly regulate the energy parameters of the transmission network, generate or absorb reactive energy, regulate the voltage and improve the energy factor, and increase the overall inertia of the power grid with the new flywheel system developed by GE. This technology is especially important as Italy responds to the strong growth of installed renewable power, such as wind and photovoltaic plants, and parallel reduction of thermal power that have affected the reliability of the electricity grid.

GE’s scope of supply for this new project with Terna includes the design, civil works, supply, installation and commissioning of two electrical two-pole generators “Topair” technology, step-up transformers, generator circuit breakers, all the electrical and mechanical auxiliaries and balance of plant for our supply, including the protection and controls systems, monitoring and diagnostic systems, as well as 20 years of planned maintenance. Each of the generators will be equipped with a flywheel to respond to the inertia requirements from Terna.


This latest deal builds on GE’s long-term relationship with Terna, the owner and operator of 98% of the Italian high-voltage power transmission grid. GE has an additional four 250 MVAr synchronous condenser units under execution with Terna in the Selargius and Maida plants in Sardinia and Calabria respectively. Additionally, GE has delivered two 160 MVAr synchronous condensers for Favara and Partinico Terna Substations in Sicily that have been running since the end of 2015.

In total, GE’s eight synchronous condenser units with Terna will supply up to 1,820 MVAr of reactive power for Italy’s grid with a value of 10,500 MWs of inertia, helping to stabilize the grid in Sardinia region, Sicily and south of Italy where more than 20 million people live.

GE offers a condenser portfolio with units ranging from 20 MVAr to more than 300 MVAr in a single piece of equipment. GE has supplied more than 200 synchronous condensers to utilities across the world.