T&D World Magazine

MicroPlanet Announces LVR Product Deployment with ScottishPower

MicroPlanet Technology Corp. has announced a product deployment program with SP Power Systems Ltd, a part of ScottishPower plc, to jointly introduce MicroPlanet's point-of-consumption electronic voltage regulators to the Distribution Network Operators in the United Kingdom. The installation of 100 MicroPlanet Low Voltage Regulator (LVR) units is planned for an extended UK pilot, commencing with the ScottishPower deployment. The aggregate value of these installations is approximately US$275,000.

As part of the agreement, SP Power Systems Ltd will work with MicroPlanet to:

  • Develop MicroPlanet LVRs for use on the ScottishPower network in the U.K.
  • Deploy and demonstrate how distributed electronic voltage regulation technology could improve the effectiveness of an existing distribution infrastructure.
  • Provide guidance in securing relevant regulatory and European Union safety agency approval.

After a series of field trials in late 2003 featuring the MicroPlanet electronic voltage regulators, SP Power Systems have been working in collaboration to finalize specifications designed to meet the unique needs of the U.K. grid, as well as a to develop a tactical plan for implementing the MicroPlanet technology as part of a more widespread initiative.

"There are a range of potential applications for the regulators on the ScottishPower network", said Steve Wood, business systems and technology director of SP Power Systems Ltd. "As a short term measure they will allow us to overcome low voltage issues in affected areas, but this could be just the beginning. The UK governmental targets for carbon reduction are likely to involve a mixture of improved efficiency of our infrastructure and the connection of variable renewable energy sources."

ScottishPower provides electricity and gas to some 3.3 million homes and businesses across the United Kingdom.

"Our arrangement with ScottishPower is an excellent example of how distributed resources will play a crucial role in reshaping the global electric utility infrastructure," said MicroPlanet CEO Brian Reidy. "Environmental concerns, ever-increasing power demands, rising costs for infrastructure as well as siting concerns related to new transmission infrastructure have made it imperative that utilities worldwide pursue new technologies that maximize their current power supply in environmentally friendly ways."

MicroPlanet's technology tackles a big problem: The majority of utility customers receive more or less voltage then required. For instance, approximately 8 million homes in the United States consistently receive voltage below the minimum standard of 114 V established by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI standard C84.1). Conversely, as much as 90 percent of U.S. homes receive more voltage than they require. This translates into lower quality service to utility customers, wasted electricity, higher capital and operating costs for utilities, larger electricity bills, shorter lives for electrical apparatus and increased greenhouse gasses.

MicroPlanet's proprietary technology resolves both situations by regulating the voltage delivered. This regulation eliminates waste by delivering only the necessary voltage to the user, returning the unused energy back to the grid. Studies conducted over the past 30 years by the electric utility industry have confirmed that by regulating incoming line voltage the average amount of electricity used can be reduced by 10% on average.

"Our products provide precision voltage regulation by resolving typical utility operating problems at the point of consumption - the consumers' homes or businesses. This solution is easy, reliable and inexpensive," said Reidy. "This technical flexibility will allow our products to play a pivotal role in the future to maximize the reliability and efficiency of electrical grids throughout the world."

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