T&D World Magazine
Sacramento Municipal Utility District Deploys emPower Solution to Address Multiple Distribution Grid Applications

Sacramento Municipal Utility District Deploys emPower Solution to Address Multiple Distribution Grid Applications

The end-to-end hardware and software system for dynamic, distributed and decoupled power control is being used in several grid-side applications.

Gridco Systems has announced the successful results of field deployments of its emPower Solution with multiple North American utility partners. The end-to-end hardware and software system for dynamic, distributed and decoupled power control is being used in several grid-side applications, including reliable integration of solar photovoltaics (PV) and other Distributed Energy Resources (DER), increased energy efficiency and peak demand reduction as part of CVR/VVO initiatives, and power quality assurance.

The solution provides a cost-effective and easy means to increase PV hosting capacity, expedite PV interconnections, and is capable of doubling energy efficiency and peak reduction savings. It is typically less than half the cost of business-as-usual approaches, such as reconductoring or asset replacement, and provides feeder- and system-wide benefits.

Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) chose to deploy and test several IPR-50s to help with integration of the growing number of rooftop PV systems. The IPR’s dynamic and continuous voltage regulation under forward and reverse power flows enabled SMUD to maintain delivered voltage levels under a range of conditions.

The set-and-forget capability of the Gridco Systems IPR-50s, combined with their 25-year design life, allows for long-term maintenance-free operation. “As a municipal-owned utility, maintaining quality voltage levels is what our customers demand,” said TJ Vargas, Advanced Technology Engineer on the project. “SMUD finds significant value in more visibility and control of power flows at the edge of the grid from our increasing amount of distributed and variable renewable generation sources,” Vargas added.

Greater Sudbury Hydro also needed to more effectively integrate PV into their distribution grid and enhance the power quality delivered to customers. “We needed to ensure the reliable delivery of power within CSA limits, especially to customers with voltage-sensitive equipment, and the Gridco Systems IPR-50 helped us achieve this goal,” said Brian McMillan, Vice-President Distribution Electrical Systems at Greater Sudbury Hydro. “We are also using the IPR to maintain near unity power factor and cancel voltage and current harmonics, which have been getting worse over time due to the large amounts of customer-connected non-linear loads and electronics-based power supplies.”

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