Someone deep inside Oncor this morning sent me a link to the company’s Flickr site, whereon is pictured something called a static VAr compensator (or SVC) recently put into service. Oncor will have the largest concentration of these SVCs once a second array is installed in Plano later this year. So what the heck are they, exactly? Well, it’s a bank of individually switched capacitors in conjunction with a thyristor-controlled air- or iron-core reactor. By means of phase angle modulation switched by the thyristors, the reactor may be variably switched into the circuit, thus providing a continuously variable MVAr injection (or absorption) to the electrical network. Or so says Wikipedia.
My translation: in the summer, we use a lot of electricity. Except when we don’t. That fluctuation causes a big stress to Oncor’s delivery systems. These new widgets keep that stress to a minimum — and keep our air conditioners blowing.
Now can we get back to talking about The Bachelorette?