PowerStream – Dynamic Volt/VAR Optimization


PowerStream deploys Opus One Solutions Dynamic Volt/VAR Optimization scheme to improve feeder reliability and minimize losses

PowerStream, a community-owned energy company providing power and related services to more than 375,000 customers residing or owning businesses in communities located immediately north of Toronto and in Central Ontario, has taken a leadership position in its commitment to grid modernization to address increasing complexity in the electrical distribution system due to penetration of distributed generation. This includes establishing a 1.8GHz WiMAX network, implementing self-healing grid schemes using fault detection isolation restoration (FDIR) system and integrating a microgrid at the Cityview head-office.

As they continue to develop their vision for grid modernization, PowerStream is interested in increasing the utilization of their distributed energy resource, particularly capacitor banks. In 2007, PowerStream deployed a system of three capacitor banks on a feeder tail-ends to provide voltage compensation to the feeders in the Vaughan Region. They contribute to the distribution feeder by providing reactive power which in turn boosts voltage and decreases losses. PowerStream plans to better utilize the capacitor banks by connecting them to the new WiMAX network and implementing a dynamic control scheme that will factor in feeder level situations and respond to voltage conditions in real time.

The combination of vision and the requirement to address operational problems provides an ideal environment for innovative projects that leverage Ontario technologies and demonstrate how the power system can evolve to be more flexible and adaptive.

PowerStream has a strong vision to modernize their electricity grid and better utilize capacitor banks in the field.

Opus One Solutions, a solutions provider with expertise in smart grid software, was tasked to provide a complete solution to allow PowerStream to control their capacitor bank. By providing a supervisory control system that delivers real-time situational awareness of the feeder, GridOS™-DVVO optimally dispatches the capacitor bank based on grid constraints and therefore minimizes losses.

GridOS™-DVVO runs a real-time physics-based model of the feeder that uses optimization algorithms to solve for operating conditions with the least amount of losses. The model brings together static parameters of each asset on the network from line conductors to transformers to switches and dynamic measurement parameters from SCADA to generate a characteristic voltage profile. This heighten level of awareness prompts the software to dispatch the resources, in this case, capacitor banks according to the voltage and loss constraints.

The software runs on Siemens RUGGEDCOM APE utilitygrade computing platform connected via a RX1500 L2 switch that is installed in Greenwood Transformer Station. This solution is integrated seamlessly to PowerStream’s existing SCADA substation network because it already contains infrastructure like the Siemen RUGGEDCOM RSG2100 and RUGGEDCOM WiMAX network using WIN product line.

GridOS™ leverages the WiMAX communication infrastructure to coordinate with the SEL734B local capacitor bank controller that is installed on the pole. The controller is responsible for implementing the appropriate protection schemes to ensure safety and reliability under all possible conditions. It routinely provides reports and status updates to GridOS™. If communication is lost, the controller can operate the capacitor bank based on pre-configured settings to ensure it continues to provide loss reduction benefits to the utility.

Throughout the entire project, Opus One offered responsible professional service,, from material procurement, to engineering to testing and integration while working closely with the PowerStream technical team to develop the best contextualized solution.

Deployment of Opus One Solutions’ GridOS™-DVVO Dynamic Voltage VAR Optimization running on Siemens RUGGEDCOM APE computing platform that responds in real-time to grid changes.

Opus One has demonstrated full competency in delivering a state-of-the-art smart grid demonstration project that is adaptive and scalable. This project was commissioned in April 2015. The system provides operators and engineers greater visibility to the real time conditions of the feeder and assets while providing an average of 10% loss reduction.

A smart grid system that increases reliability and reduces losses to the feeder thereby achieving cost savings to the utility and their customers.