Supply side, demand reduction
Managing reactive power pays dividends for grid and customers alike.
Guest post courtesy of Trevor Deacon
Reactive loads such as large motors or other inductive systems with poor power factor contribute to greater load on the grid without delivering any real power to the end user. This increased load that performs no meaningful work reduces grid capacity and can cost the grid, or the end user on the order of 25% more on energy costs, not to mention the costs of having to construct premature grid upgrades to handle the additional load. The goal of VAr management is to improve grid power factor.
ABB is also invested in products that help to reduce demand by better managing line voltage. The goal is to reduce usage by lowering the line voltage to a level closer to the low voltage trip limit during high load conditions. Studies have shown that lowering line voltage by 1% reduces residential load by approximately 0.7% and industrial load by about 0.3%.
Although this difference only adds up to a few percentage points in savings, when coupled with VAr management systems, it can help prevent brownout or blackout conditions and to help stave off a costly capacity upgrade.
Volt/VAr management solutions have been used in pilot programs around the world to reduce costs while maintaining a robust electricity grid. ABB products include capacitor banks and controllers for power factor correction and tap-changers for voltage management as well as the software and metering to manage the health of the system. These systems help electricity companies save money and resources while still providing reliable service to their customers.