Utilities launch Volt-VAR Optimization VVO initiatives to help meet energy efficiency targets, defer the need for expensive infrastructure upgrades, avoid paying the high cost of power during peak periods and improve overall distribution grid operations and efficiency.

One VVO program in particular, Conservation Voltage Reduction (CVR), is a way for utilities to lower energy consumption and peak demand by flattening and lowering system voltage, without relying on changes in customer behavior. While early CVR pilots have shown promise, many utilities have seen energy savings and peak load reduction fall short of anticipated goals leaving significant benefits “on the table.”

These shortfalls are largely the result of the conventional approach to CVR, which relies solely on controlling medium voltage equipment (load tap changers, line regulators and capacitor banks) that cannot effectively manage all limiting load voltage points along the feeder. That is because these limiting points are often caused by larger-than-expected secondary voltage drops.  Maximizing CVR benefits comes down to including targeted, active voltage regulation on the secondary.  With the option to basically dial in a “zero voltage drop” where it’s needed on the secondary, without replacing the legacy system assets, the primary voltage can be lowered more, unlocking additional savings benefit, quickly and cost-effectively.

The Gridco Systems emPower™ Solution effectively decouples and isolates limiting points from the feeder by continuously and precisely regulating secondary voltage. As a result, utilities once locked into a small, or limited, voltage reduction range can now experience greater benefits through larger voltage reduction across entire feeders.