Reactive power is an unwanted but unavoidable part of alternating current electric power delivery systems. Governed by the laws of physics, it occurs due to the inherent nature of the components of these systems. This article develops an understanding of reactive power and the control of it to reduce its adverse effects and to improve the efficiency of an electric power delivery system.

The article begins by identifying and representing electric power circuit components, real power, and reactive power. These are then mathematically shown how they interact and affect the power delivery system.

Control and mitigation of the effects of reactive power are then developed with emphasis on mechanical solutions using rotating machines. In particular, peaking or retired generators are identified for use as rotating condensers as well as new installations. A description of the gear type synchronous self-synchronizing (SSS) overrunning clutches used to connect and dis-connect a generator from the peaking prime mover or the retired generator from a starting system is included.

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