The Utility Conundrum
"Big" Utility Customers
Utilities are tasked with building and maintaining electric delivery networks [grids] that are both effective and cost-efficient. Moreover, both state-and-federal-level regulators ensure that each customer - and "class" - pays their fair share of costs.
Larger utility customers, [those who require a special, high power, expensive or higher voltage connection] pay for all the costs (including a utility profit) associated with their power connection, including ensuring that their operation does not cause Power Quality problems.
Dynamic VAR Systems can offer large customers the possibility of connecting to the power system at a much lower cost - meeting connection Power Quality requirements and maintaining superior Power Quality within the facility - than possible traditional connection methods. Using a Dynamic VAR System and a lower cost power connection has many potential advantages:
Always, first cost.
Often, installation time. A Dynamic VAR System can be designed, built, and installed in a matter of weeks. Utility transmission upgrades may take years.
Always siting freedom - using a Dynamic VAR system lets facilities like mines and pump stations be placed where needed, not just where utility transmission service is readily available.
Frequently, reuse. Dynamic VAR systems can be moved from required. For operations with defined - often short - lifetimes like dredging or mining operations, this means a ready residual value and reuse at a future location.
Always improved performance, since an operational Dynamic VAR system means better in-facility voltage levels.
Classic Utility System Stability
Utilities also purchase dynamic VAR compensation for power system stability issues for their own use. Since these are "shared" resources, they're paid for by all classes of customers.
The modular design and variable size availability of T-Star Dynamic VAR compensation units provide a cost-effective alternative to classic utility thyristor-controlled reactors for power system stability. Modular design, cost-effective installation, small footprint, intelligent controls, easy maintenance and repair, and very high availability make these ideal for decentralized VAR/power system stability support. Multiple units located across a region can address both local fault recovery and system-wide voltage instability better- and less expensively than - a classic "single TSC" strategy.
Building the Future Power Distribution System
The Internet is full of an infinite number of futures for Power Distribution.
Topics like smart meters, self-generation, micro-grids, decentralized generation, solar and wind generation, and volt/VAR optimization are all predicated on idea that the underlying "grid" will be smart enough - and flexible enough - to adapt to conditions in real-time.
What's been leaned is that it's comparatively easy to collect and process information [signals] about things like generation, real-time customer consumption, power system conditions (outages, recloser operations). Its harder to enable the power distribution system to adapt to rapidly-changing circumstances.
Dynamic VARS systems are one of the few available technologies that can change the characteristics of a power circuit instantly. Use in a DOE-funded Southern California Edison "Circuit of the Future" showed that a Dynamic VAR System could:
- Maintain outstanding voltage stability on an entire distribution system despite operation of large motors on the same circuit.
- Reduce to minimal levels the impact of faults from adjoining distribution circuits - or elsewhere on the system.
The trials did not showcase other previously demonstrated capabilities such as:
Using a Dynamic VAR system programmed for multiple circuit conditions [e.g., with/without local generation].
Using a Dynamic VAR system programmed for multiple actions (e.g., offset local facility impacts/ clear downstream circuit faults)
Dynamic VAR systems can used in virtually any situation where transient voltage stability, outage recovery or power flow are issues of concern.