CVR-as-a-Service for Municipal Power Companies
Historically, Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) has been widely regarded as the most important aspect of grid modernization by municipal utilities. Research shows municipal utilities looking to benefit from improved system reliability, enhanced energy management tools, and increased energy efficiency will lead the next wave of Smart Grid spending. In fact, according to GTM Research, these municipals will spend an estimated $4.5 to $9 billion by 2017 on Smart Grid technologies, with AMI and Data Acquisition deployments leading the list of projects.
There are many benefits to be gained from AMI deployments, one being the availability of voltage data from smart meters that can be used to drive Conservation Voltage Reduction (CVR) solutions. However, the AMI penetration rate among U.S. municipals is low. This can be attributed to the high costs associated with implementation and lack of buy-in from citizens. With or without an AMI, municipalities in search for new ways to cut costs and reduce rates by shaving load during peak periods can take advantage of CVR to do just that.
For many municipals, traditional CVR methods are manual, or done on a “set-it-and-forget-it” and then “hope-and-pray” basis. Both methods lack real time observability, secondary distribution data, active performance monitoring, and measurement and verification. This makes it extremely difficult for operators to push voltage reduction beyond one or two percent without fear of violating the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards.
However, robust active-control based methods leverage AMI data and/or voltage sensing devices by using near real time data (including secondary distribution sources) to create dynamic and system-wide observability for closed-loop operations. This enables operators to drive voltage limits to the lowest possible levels while watching for, and adapting to, changing grid conditions for deep results.
In addition, cloud-based, pre-implemented grid modernization solutions, such as CVR-as-a-Service, minimize internal workload for municipalities with lean IT staff and allow for rapid rollouts, making voltage regulation a cost-effective dispatchable resource.
While CVR-as-a-Service has many benefits, the following are the most compelling for the municipal market:
- Provides a cost-effective way to perform advanced voltage reduction with or without an AMI—reducing overall voltage levels by up to four, five, or even six percent, based on feeder specifics.
- Requires little support from internal IT teams, saving municipals money on costly overtime and maintenance.
- Benefits power consumers by delivering high power quality without burdensome notification or affecting their comfort. No costly and time-consuming customer engagement programs are required and no in-home equipment installation is needed.
- Hosted in the Cloud for easy and rapid deployment. Maintenance costs and system upgrades are built right into the monthly subscription fee.
- Delivers a great demand reduction strategy that has no impact on customers.
There’s no reason municipal utilities can’t achieve dramatic peak shaving demand reductions, with or without an AMI, to cut expensive power supply costs for their citizens. With CVR-as-a-Service, they’ll get the functionality they need to support their Smart Grid initiatives today and beyond.
About the author:
Linda Stevens is Sr. Director of Sales for OATI’s Grid Modernization solutions. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Management and Leadership from Concordia University, St. Paul, MN. Ms. Stevens has dedicated her career to the energy industry. She began in an Investor Owned Utility where she learned firsthand about utility operations. This experience transitioned to an energy industry software and technology sales career path with Siemens and, eventually, to OATI. Through a network of direct OATI sales executives, key technology alliances, and an industry leading distribution channel, she drives the strategic sales initiatives for OATI’s Grid Modernization (or Smart Grid) portfolio, with an emphasis on solutions for Cooperatives and Municipals.