Reactive power dispatch demonstrated in New York

New York utility Rochester Gas and Electric (RG&E) and Smarter Grid Solutions have run a reactive power dispatch demonstration.

The methodology was applied in simulation to a real-world circuit of RG&E with the aim to inform the provisioning of reactive power dispatch and other grid services for local voltage support via the leveraging of distributed energy resources.

The project, which used Smarter Grid Solutions’ Distributed Energy Resource Management System (DERMS) solutions ANM Strata and ANM Element, focussed on two scenarios, the company says.

First, RG&E’s Spencerport grid was assessed with 1.65MVAr of fixed capacitor banks providing conventional voltage support by delivering constant reactive power with the distributed resources dynamically meeting the reactive power needs of the local loads. The two reactive power sources resulted in an additional 10.4GVArh of total annual reactive power backfeed being measured.

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In the second scenario, the fixed capacitor banks were removed from the model to analyse the impact of relying solely on modern distributed resources for reactive power support. In this scenario, the distributed resources were able to dynamically support the grid while maintaining a power factor of 0.97 at the substation, effectively replacing the capacitors and avoiding the excessive reactive power backfeed resulting from the first scenario.

These results demonstrate the potential of modern distributed energy resources to provide an alternative to traditional grid assets while also tackling the climate emergency and helping New York move towards its 2050 net zero, according to a statement.

“This project was a crucial first step for RG&E and Avangrid to become the distributed system platform provider of the future,” says Bob Manning, Program Director, Smart Grids Innovation and Planning at Avangrid.

“Agility and collaboration are foundational values that we support, and this work is an example of our commitment to building a cleaner energy future. We look forward to building upon the valuable lessons learned.”

The project was supported with $200,000 funding from the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA).

RG&E is a subsidiary of Avangrid serving 383,600 electricity customers and 317,660 natural gas customers in a nine-county region centred on the City of Rochester in New York state.