Synchronous Generator conversion to Synchronous Condensor

The question was posed:
" How to convert generator to synchronous condenser"
This begs the question; Permanent conversion or alternating between generating kW and producing KVAR?
My answer is mainly with a permanent conversion in mind.

There are two issues with a conversion.
Supporting the shaft and starting.
Almost all diesel generators are single bearing machines.
If these generators are removed from the engine, there is no bearing on the drive end.
You must fabricate a bearing and an end plate to support the drive end of the rotor.
Many generators may be started as a synchronous motor, the damper winding acting as a squirrel cage winding.
If the generator will not start on the damper winding, it may be started with a VFD.
A much cheaper option is to use a pony motor to spin the machine up to speed and then sync to the grid.
All that remains is to replace a simple AVR with a VAR controller or set a more advanced AVR to VAR control.
That being said, I do know of one very large exception.
Running a diesel engine at light or no load is not generally considered good practice.
The engines have a tendancy to slobber or pump oil out the exhaust, but it can be done.
Case in point:
A city was originally supplied with power from a diesel generator plant.
Hydro power became available and the generator plant was mothballed.
As time passed and the city grew and electric usage per household grew, the capacity of the transmission line was reached.
Transmission line capacity is often limited by the ability of the transformer on-load-tap-changers to compensate for voltage drop in the transmission line.
This voltage drop is usually more reactive than resistive.
The diesel plant was taken out of mothballs and put into service as a synchronous capacitor station.
With the VARs being supplied locally the reactive voltage drop was reduced and the capacity of the transmission line was greatly increased.

Your post assumes a former diesel prime mover. To my mind I had seen a steam driven unit reviewed for service as a condenser. In that unit the concern was that we would not want to spin the turban, but had to look into the balancing of the generator with the turban detached. Also a concern was the aux. equipment, like lube pumps etc.
In the end the hydrogen seals made the unit unworkable as a condenser.

There’s a lot of discussion ongoing about the national grid in North America undergoing a transition (perhaps other parts of the world are anticipating the same) as more and more solar and wind projects, with battery energy storage systems, are put online.

Do you think we’ll see more generators converted to synchronous condensers to aid in grid stability? Just a curiosity on my part.

I don’t think there are that many sizeable units available for this conversion. I would expect to see more Statcoms, and dynamic vars units in the future.
I expect and hope we see more requirements like Europe to have inverters be required to produce negitive sequence into system faults. And for that matter into the power system in general for balancing purposes.
The interesting thing is many dynamic vars systems can also put real power out if connected to a source like a battery, or solar, or wind. So that maybe something to look into.
ABB had a thing a few years ago about DC lite, or a smaller scale DC tie application. I doubt it can be found now.

Somewhat late to the party, but from a slightly involved bystander point of view, I’d expect that we’ll still see more rotating machinery being used in such a fashion where possible. I am aware of network conditions here where more rotating units are desired, even with adequate static capacity. I expect this is primarily due to the need to have some means to provide fault current in addition to any power factor requirements.

It is obviously far easier to convert some types of equipment than others, hydro being a good example.