I was wondering what the effect would be on the national grid for if a large power consumer was to improve its power factor.

I know that it would reduce demand but is there any other effects?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ By "plant" do you mean a generating plant or a power consumer? \$\endgroup\$
    – The Photon
    May 9 '20 at 21:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ power consumer . \$\endgroup\$
    – user247727
    May 9 '20 at 21:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ then I'm editing your question to say exactly that,"plant" is at the very least ambiguous. \$\endgroup\$ May 9 '20 at 21:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, the voltage drop on the lines would reduce due to the reduced current. Voltage would rise at the consumer's site. Why are you asking? \$\endgroup\$
    – Transistor
    May 9 '20 at 21:10

Large industrial plants are penalized for having too poor a power factor, when the power factor is poor, it creates more stress on the power plants generators (uneven acceleration), which reduces the lifetime of some of its parts, so usually there is a monetary motivation for an industrial plant to atleast attempt to improve its power factor,

In comparison due to all the switch mode power supplies in use today, with many of the cheap import products not using power factor correction, residential and office tend to appear capacitive, which means industrial plants get some range where by having a large inductive load can make things more consistent

As for what would change, less heat in the overhead wires, slightly less voltage drop over unit distance, and lower loading on the transformer stations meaning higher lifetimes, a lower risk of brownouts, Having a better power factor also usually comes with less harmonics on the mains, which would otherwise be waste heat in the EMI filters of most power gear,

  • \$\begingroup\$ "many of the cheap import products not using power factor correction": [citation needed]; at least in the EU, you have golly little option but to implement PFC if you want to import. \$\endgroup\$ May 9 '20 at 21:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ Devices under about 75W are not required to have power factor correction in Europe, other countries have similar exceptions, e.g. a phone charger, led lights, some monitors, however all these small devices do add up to acting as a larger capacitive load on the mains, as they make up the majority in homes and offices, \$\endgroup\$
    – Reroute
    May 9 '20 at 21:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Can't find the 75W clause anywhere; the relevant standard is IEC 61000-3-2, and it makes no exception for low-power devices. \$\endgroup\$ May 9 '20 at 21:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ epsma.org/PFC%20Guide_November%202010.pdf \$\endgroup\$
    – Reroute
    May 9 '20 at 21:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ That is what I was working from as a citation. \$\endgroup\$
    – Reroute
    May 9 '20 at 21:42

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