Analysis of the Pullman smart grid demonstration project.
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The electric power grid has been very well established for over a century. However, as the power demand increases, the efficiency, reliability, and safety of the grid become even more valuable. The simple power grid needs to be ‘smarter’ to handle the increase in demand in the most cost-effective manner. This need led to the inception of a smart grid, where the installation of automated equipment, smart meters, and distribution management system, gives complete control over the grid. The Pullman Smart Grid Demonstration project, headed by Avista Utilities, is conducted to quantify the smart grid’s benefits. The newly installed equipment coupled with the distribution automation system has the ability to have constant control over the grid and also the potential to decrease demand during peak hours. This research explores one aspect of the smart grid in distribution automation called Integrated Volt-Var Control (IVVC) scheme. Voltage regulation over a distribution feeder serves the purpose of achieving a flat voltage profile and maintaining the permissible voltage (plus or minus 5% of 120V) at the end-use customer. VAr control allows power factor correction in real time. By maintaining near unity power factor, the system’s operating current is minimized, thus reducing the size of operating devices such as cable, transformer, alternator, etc. The benefits of IVVC include reduction of losses, maintenance costs, operating costs, and voltage variation, and increase in the power delivery capacity of existing equipment. Results of IVVC control show demand savings of 2-3%, validating the need for a smart grid.