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Reactive power problem and its solution

The problem of the growth of reactive power in electrical networks has not yet touched many. But with the increase in the number of equipment used, it is rapidly emerging.

Today companies from various sectors of the economy are faced with the problem of the growth of reactive power in electrical networks. The use of special devices to compensate or smooth out these effects allows not only to extend the service life of expensive equipment, but also to reduce energy consumption. An increase in the number of dissimilar loads in modern power grids leads to an increase in reactive power, as well as an increase in nonlinear distortion.

Reactive power

  • The reason for the occurrence of reactive power
  • Reactive power compensation devices
  • Active filters
  • Energy efficiency assessment
  • Conclusion

Interference increases electricity costs and can also harm expensive equipment, shortening its lifespan. That is why such institutions and organizations as the Nicole Pak factories in Uchaly, TAKEDA for the production of drugs in Yaroslavl and the Ufa railway station use reactive power compensation systems worth several million rubles.

The reason for the occurrence of reactive power

Simple electrical consumers such as heaters or incandescent lamps do not create distortion and do not affect the quality of the power supply. But the more often inverters, electric motors, frequency converters, switching power supplies, UPSs, fluorescent and LED lamps are found in networks, the more the consumption of reactive power increases, the currents in the conductors grow, the useful energy goes into heating and vibration.

According to Legrand statistics, due to the presence of harmonic interference in the network and a large amount of reactive current in the power grid, up to 40% of the useful power is lost. And since today, both in industrial facilities and in ordinary offices and residential complexes, more and more various devices appear, the problem of reactive power has to be dealt with in almost all areas.

Many organizations install high-power UPSs to provide power redundancy for critical loads, but poor power quality can harm even well-protected equipment. Therefore, it is critically important to apply a whole range of necessary measures, including reactive power compensation and smoothing of higher order harmonics.

Reactive power compensation devices

The most environmentally friendly and effective way to deal with reactive power is to use reactive power compensation devices (VCRM). They can be automatic capacitor banks that balance the reactive load, keeping it to a minimum. Practice shows that the UKRM installation can reduce reactive power consumption by up to 90%. This is made possible by reducing losses in power cables and transformers.

Reactive power problem and its solution

The installation constantly measures the phase difference between the current and voltage and changes its capacity depending on fluctuations on the part of consumers. For example, to connect powerful devices in the Legrand line, there are capacitor banks and ALPIMATIC modules with electromechanical contactors. And for more dynamic environments with a large number of commutations and complex transients, ALPISTATIC capacitor banks with semiconductor contactors have been developed.

At each moment of time, the UKRM creates a counterweight to the reactive load and can bring the power efficiency up to 97%. Thanks to this, the operation of the DCRM helps to reduce the amount of actually consumed energy in kVA, and also guarantees an increase in the stability of the voltage level for consumers. Due to this, energy costs are reduced, and the period of trouble-free operation of a wide variety of equipment is also extended.

Active filters

However, there are situations where high frequency equipment in the mains generates harmonic interference. Their direct compensation will not lead to significant savings, but the presence of harmonic distortions in the network can seriously harm CNC machines, motors and other expensive equipment.

Active filters are used to combat distortion. Such a device does not just smooth out, but continuously generates a compensation current in antiphase to the distortion harmonics. With a response time of less than 300 μs (for example, such a parameter is provided by the ECOsineActive filter), the system quickly eliminates harmonic distortion and restores the sinusoidal current waveform.

Due to the ability to compensate for large surges (rated current up to 300 A) and protection against harmful environments up to IP54, modern active filters are successfully used in industry. So, on the project for the TAKEDA plant in Yaroslavl, in addition to the UKRM systems, an APFSC4P400V120A active harmonic filter was also installed, which provides advanced capabilities for equipment protection.

An active filter can improve the quality of the power supply by neutralizing harmonics up to the 50th order, and also helps to compensate for reactive power by balancing the currents in the system, significantly reducing the level of heat and vibration. This minimizes equipment wear and tear and adheres to the energy consumption limits that have become common with many electricity suppliers.

Energy efficiency assessment

Before installing such solutions as UKRM and active filters, an assessment of the condition of the power grids is mandatory. This is especially true for energy-intensive industries, where energy costs exceed 40% (for example, in oil refining this figure reaches 54.7%).

To conduct an accurate assessment of the feasibility of using equipment for reactive power compensation, Legrand representative offices in the regions of Russia use the HTL 103 power analyzers from ChauvinArnoux. These are one of the most advanced, compact and convenient devices in their class that allow you to quickly assess the state of power grids and the possible benefits of using RCRM and active filters.

Each client can order a survey, based on the results of which losses due to the occurrence of reactive power will be calculated in a special program, and specific equipment models will be proposed that will cope with them with maximum efficiency. For most tasks, reactive power compensation units of a reinforced class are suitable, and for the most severe loads, the category of UCRM of an extra-reinforced class is suitable, a comprehensive installation project for which can be obtained immediately after examination.

The demand for energy audits in Russia is growing every year. So, for example, in 2018 our specialists analyzed energy consumption at 70 objects. As a result of the measures taken, more than 100 enterprises during these two years have achieved a reduction in energy consumption, and at 7 facilities the payback period of installed CCRM and active filters was less than 12 months.


On average, the payback period for investments in UKRM and active filters is from 1 to 4 years and reaches the minimum values ​​in the energy-intensive industry. But even office centers, after a few years, begin to save on bills from energy companies alone, not to mention reducing the cost of maintaining a wide variety of equipment that works longer without breakdowns due to the availability of high-quality power supply.

Investments in the creation of MCRM systems and the installation of active filters justifies itself as a capital investment, since it leads to a decrease in operating costs from the very first days of the systems operation. And the availability of fully localized solutions on the market, all components of which are manufactured in Russia and are constantly available to customers, helps enterprises to guarantee the protection of their own investments, providing additional savings in the long term. published by econet.ru

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