New Technology Improves Distribution Feeder Power Quality
Power companies dealing with voltage flicker and customers paying poor power factor correction penalties can benefit from a new Custom Power technology called IntelliVAr. The technology, developed by Power Quality Systems Inc. under the Electric Power Research Institute`s (EPRI) and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association`s (NRECA) sponsorship, uses power electronics-based technology for reactive power compensation. It is designed to mitigate frequent, non-outage power-line disturbances that last a few cycles.
The first IntelliVAr, installed on a 12,470 V feeder serving Gilman Building Products in Dudley, Ga., is improving power quality by minimizing or eliminating flicker for Oconee Electric Membership Corp., a member system of Oglethorpe Power Corp.
IntelliVAr units can operate in two different modes: voltage regulation or power factor correction. The technology provides power factor improvements by reducing reactive power flow in the utility and plant distribution systems. The supplier benefits from the release of system electrical capacity, voltage improvement and lower system losses. The reduction may result in lower utility costs for the customer if a power factor penalty clause is enforced and if the IntelliVAr is installed on the load side of the revenue meter.
The IntelliVAr is available in platform or pole-mounted units, eliminating the need for land, a building or fencing for installation. In addition, the IntelliVAr connects directly to the distribution line, saving the costs of large coupling transformers.
“The key reason NRECA wished to develop an advanced Static Var Compensator with EPRI was to have a cost-effective way of compensating long, single-phase rural feeders with heavy-duty motors connected to them,” said NRECA`s Martin Gordon, a senior program manager in energy research and development.
A data link on the IntelliVAr allows remote changing of setpoints and operation mode. Distribution systems serving arc furnaces, pumping stations, chemical processes, centrifuges, plastic and fiber plants, wood products plants and welding operations are prime candidates for the device.
“The IntelliVAr allows utilities to mitigate voltage flicker without upgrading their system, which leads to better asset utilization. This Customer Power tool helps reduce overall costs and increase customer satisfaction,” said Ashok Sundaram, EPRI`s IntelliVAr project manager.
Customer Power is value-added power the electric utilities and other service providers will offer their customers. Integration of Custom Power devices with DA equipment will help create systems that are optimized for the utility and the customer.