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Rhode Island Volt/VAR Optimization

We are reducing energy loss through the adoption of new technologies, such as Volt/VAR Optimization (VVO).

A significant amount of produced electric energy is lost during the transmission from power plants to consumers. Reducing this energy loss is crucial to saving energy and cutting greenhouse gas emissions. One way of accomplishing this is through the implementation of energy monitoring technology, such as VVO.

Reducing Energy Loss Through VVO Technology

Electricity must be delivered at a certain voltage level when it goes to a customer’s business or home to ensure that electronics, appliances, and so on can work properly. The electricity we produce sometimes has to travel a long distance from our distribution feeders to the business or home. This length of travel can cause the electricity (voltage) to change along the way (by either increasing and decreasing). This volatility of electricity levels can sometimes result in the electricity not being delivered at the required voltage level, or more electricity being produced and delivered than is required, resulting in energy loss.

National Grid’s Rhode Island VVO Demonstration Project is using VVO technology to better manage the volatility of electricity levels in order to reduce energy loss. VVO technology is used on a distribution feeder to pull real-time analytics from the grid. This allows us to:

  • Better monitor the supply and demand of energy
  • Regulate voltage levels more effectively
  • Reduce peak demand and energy loss

Ultimately, VVO technology allows us to deliver consistent, distributed power to all our customers.

As a part of this pilot, we tracked performance on seven distribution feeders supplied from the Putnam Pike substation to the Tower Hill Road substation in Rhode Island. The VVO technology on the distribution feeders was shown to reduce the overall demand by 3.4%.

Future Plans for VVO

National Grid will be expanding the footprint of VVO in the Rhode Island service territory by deploying the technology on 40 additional distribution feeders over the next five years. We will be starting with three substations in FY18.