Photo by EPM

Empresas Públicas de Medellín Employs Flexible Alternating Current Transmission System

March 10, 2021
Modular FACTS manage the power flow on the grid as if it were the flow of water in a pipe

Empresas Públicas de Medellín announces its successful application of Modular FACTS (Flexible Alternating Current Transmission Systems).

Modular FACTS manage the power flow on the grid as if it were the flow of water in a pipe. By moving power from heavily loaded lines to others with spare capacity, this technology optimizes the existing infrastructure. Global power technology company, Smart Wires, provides a Modular FACTS solution called SmartValve.

EPM has been following Modular FACTS since 2005. In 2017, when the technology was broadly commercialized, EPM initiated efforts to explore the possibility of using SmartValve on its system within the Aburrá Valley Expansion Plan. This announcement marks the successful energization of SmartValves on EPM’s grid.

Among the advantages of Modular FACTS are:

1. By providing real-time flexibility and control, this technology improves system reliability and lowers operational costs.

2. It limits the impact of infrastructure on urban areas and natural environments by deferring or avoiding the construction of new power transmission lines or the repowering of existing lines.

3. It enables the connection of new renewable energy resources, ensuring the power they generate can reach electricity markets and demand centers.

4. By optimizing existing infrastructure, this technology ensures EPM efficiently deploys capital and enables them to keep costs low for Colombian consumers.

The project results will be socialized with companies throughout the Colombian electricity sector including the Regulating Commission of Energy and Gas (CREG according to the initials in Spanish), the regulator, and the Ministry of Energy and Mines, the governmental entities in charge of planning the expansion and operation of the National Interconnected System (SIN).

Unlike traditional FACTS, which occupy large spaces in substations, require custom designs and are not easily relocatable, SmartValves offer a modular approach to investment. This means deployments can be scaled alongside changing system needs. SmartValves offer flexible installation footprints, saving substation space, and can even be located on transmission towers or on mobile units. Since they are voltage-agnostic, SmartValves can easily be moved from their initial location as system needs evolve.

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