Distribution System Efficiency Using Voltage Optimization Techniques


Utility Planning Solutions PLLC is a professional engineering consulting company founded January 2009 providing electric utilities, government agencies, and regional forums and utility commission with the latest cost effective methods for improving the efficiency of their energy distribution systems. Utilities can cost effectively reduce loses, lower demand, save energy, and increase end-use efficiency with no negative customer impacts. Distribution Efficiency is accomplished by applying Voltage Optimization (VO) techniques to distribution systems. The overall objective is to apply comprehensive system upgrades in conjunction with the lowering the annual average voltage to the customer. The result is  cost effective lower energy consumption and reduced system losses.

About 90% of the savings come from lower end-use consumption and 10% from reduced system losses. Voltage optimization techniques provide a more cost effective savings approach than do simple Conservation Voltage Regulation (CVR) methods.  Verification of savings can be obtained without lengthy field testing by applying already tested and approved measurement and verification protocols. In most cases, the return on investment for reclaiming energy savings through increased efficiency and demand reduction greatly exceeds the cost of implementation. Total annual cost effective savings generally range from 0.5% to 1.5% of total revenue sales. With regional incentives, the savings potential can be higher.

To implement distribution efficiency measures, utilities typically install metering upgrades for feeders, perform feeder modeling and load flow assessments, improve hourly power factors, balance feeder loading, install some line re-conductoring and line regulators, lower substation operating voltage set points, revise some construction standards, and apply line drop compensation regulator controls. Energy savings for a typical 12.5 kV feeder range from 50 to 250 MWh per feeder depending on the amount of annual average voltage reduction is achieved. For most distribution systems, an annual average voltage reduction of 1.5% to 3.5% is cost effectively possible. Savings come from reduction in line losses on distribution lines and distribution transformer no-load losses. The total life-cycle-levelized-cost of savings, based on past experiences, typically range from $0.010 to $0.024 per kWh saved.

Utility Planning Solutions, PLLC is technically experienced with state of the art distribution system modeling, feeder analysis, system metering, voltage control, and var management. Utility Planning Solutions provides distribution system design guidelines, protocols, training, and formulations to aid in adoption of distribution system efficiency improvements in the Northwest. UPS also performs third party verification of savings using industry accepted CVR and Voltage Optimization M&V Protocols.

Utility Planning Solutions PLLC conducts electric distribution system efficiency studies for electric utilities to assess the feasibility of obtaining distribution efficiency savings. Detailed implementation plans are tailored to specific needs and objectives of the client, whether rural or urban, large or small. The company utilizes the latest scientific research methods and formulations for energy loss calculations, load flow analysis, circuit modeling, and operational simulation to achieve optimal system performance. UPS provides third party verification of utility efficiency plans and proposed M&V methodologies for Regional Utility Commissions and Regulators as needed.

Utility Planning Solutions PLLC offers technical training workshops for engineers and other personnel involved in electric utility standards, system planning, distribution design, metering systems, CVR and Voltage Optimization techniques and analysis, Simplified VO M&V Protocols, and distribution system resource management.

Our Clients: Utility Planning Solutions serves public and investor-owned utility districts, municipal utilities, industry associations, and other organizations seeking our expertise throughout the world. Our clients include the Electric Power Research Institute, Northwest Power and Conservation Council, Northwest Energy Efficiency Association, SAIC, Commonwealth Associates, PECO, PacificCorp, Bonneville Power Administration, Cowlitz PUD, Tillamook PUD, Flathead Electric Coop, Lakeview L&P, Wells REC, and NorthWestern Energy. Our services are applicable to electric utility companies regardless of size, urban or rural.

Dr. Robert H. Fletcher, P.E. is the founder of Utility Planning Solutions and an expert in all areas of distribution system design for optimization and system efficiency. His knowledge of economic evaluation formulation has contributed to expanding utility implementation of distribution efficiency measures through the nation. Dr. Fletcher provides consultation services and is directly responsible for all distribution system projects.

Contact Utility Planning Solutions today