City Utility Trials Voltage Optimization in First for Western Canada

The city utility for Lethbridge, Alberta, is starting a voltage optimization trial that is expected to deliver energy savings for customers while reducing overall energy usage in the city’s electricity distribution system.

The city said it is the first community in Western Canada to introduce the technology to its grid.

“The beauty of this technology is that we expect we can reduce our community’s overall power consumption and peak power demand by as much as four percent without the need for residential, commercial and institutional customers to change their behavior,” Stew Purkis, electric utility manager for the City of Lethbridge, said in a statement. “With full implementation, we expect that could amount to energy savings of up to 33,600 megawatt hours of electricity — the equivalent of removing 4,400 homes from the grid.”

The trial will start with one of the city’s six electric substations, and if the trial is successful, it will roll out across all of the city’s grid assets.

The city said it is using technology developed by Virginia-based Dominion Voltage Inc. (DVI).

According to DVI, the technology is designed to lower the often too-high voltage that is delivered to customers and help their appliances run more efficiently.

To do this, DVI’s voltage optimization software is integrated with customers’ smart meters, where voltages are then monitored. Voltage data is sent to the utility every 15 minutes, and the utility in turn analyzes the data in order to deliver optimized voltage settings out to the distribution system.

Alberta Innovates is a funding partner on the initiative.

Lead image credit: CC0 Creative Commons | Pixabay

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Jennifer Delony, analyst for TransmissionHub, started her career as a B2B news editor in the local and long-distance telecommunications industries in the '90s. Jennifer began covering renewable energy issues at the local level in 2005 and covered U.S. and Canadian utility-scale wind energy as editor of North American Windpower magazine from 2006-2009. She also provides analysis for the oil and natural gas sectors as editor of Oilman Magazine.

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