Who Put the Cap on Reactive Power Solutions?
Yesterday’s answer has been installing bulk capacitors on the transmission lines
and at the entrance of a business. This gives some relief to the utilities’ need to
produce the reactance (VARs) at the generator, but the business lines inside
remain “filled” with the reactance losses (I2R). These losses continue to be an
accepted “cost” of doing business. These I2R losses cause lines and inductive
loads to be over heated, reducing the life of the equipment.
Another “creeping” cost is a tremendous surge in harmonics being developed
inside the business, with all the new electronic aids being introduced. The bulk
capacitor banks are now trapping these harmonics, so spurious breaker trips are
becoming common place. Searching these trips out can be difficult and costly to
The August 2003 Northeast blackout has attributed reactance, or the lack of it, as
a causal element. The capacitance installed on the power lines has obviously not
resolved the whole issue of reactance needs, especially when the problem is now
transmitted across many systems that had locally “resolved” the reactance issue.
This implies a need for better control on the interconnection reactance makeup,
“makeup” which is not a paid commodity. The incentive to rectify this reactive
need may be found in government or self-control. But the reality of producing
KW for pay and reactance for “stay” won’t happen any time soon. Utilities are
“charged” by their stockholders to make dividends and profit. Placing new
transmission lines and /or power plants in “my” backyard has long been a difficult
task. Placing capacitors on the power lines resolve the immediate issues, but
housing and industry out pace the “design” and placement of transmission
Today’s future in reactive power woes finds very little attention on the customer
side of the meter. Reactive power “needs” is created by an inductive loads’
maintenance of its electromagnetic field. Simply speaking, this field only uses a
portion of the power supplied to maintain the field and gives up what it can’t use
in heating the windings of the inductive load and the lines supplying the power.
When correct capacitance is placed at the load, the need for reactance is
eliminated. The capacitor, takes an initial charge, which is sufficient to maintain
the electromagnetic field without significant additional energy input. The
additional input was seen as I2R losses. The benefits of adding the correct
capacitance at the load has many added benefits:
1. Maintains volts and amps to inductive load
2. Improves motor efficiency
3. Adds capacity to businesses because of reduced amperage to inductive
4. Reduces kw need
5. Optimizes power factor, reducing reactance
6. Reduces I2R losses, reducing wire and inductive load temperatures
7. Increases inductive load life
8. Could reduce code sizing requirements for motors
9. Better use of resources by allowing standard motor design instead of
high efficiency units
10. Reduces transmission line losses
11. Reduces need for more power plants
12. Reduces need to replace low efficient A/C units, just add capacitors
13. Home capacitance units can reduce reactance “need” from the millions of
14. Add capacity to transmission grids
1. Organizing a workforce to do it!
2. Getting the TOP DOWN to buy into the concept!
3. Getting started now!
Until now this has been a guess and no real results. But a little known patented
idea is at the very basis of the reactive solution. Why not put a “capacitor sizer”
at the load, and dial in the correct reactance, and install it. Well, if one were to
take interest in this patent, one could do just that. It’s a huge undertaking,
reducing reactance at the load, but the results in 5 years could put the utility
industry back 10 years in it’s capacity to provide KW!
Gregory G. Taylor