USA: Everything under control

Reinhausen’s dom­i­nance in the high volt­age and medi­um volt­age sub­sta­tion on-load tap-chang­er mar­ket is now migrat­ing down­stream to the indi­vid­ual con­nect­ed cus­tomer lev­el. This break­through inno­va­tion is allow­ing util­i­ties to solve a whole suite of cus­tomer prob­lems more effi­cient­ly and effec­tive­ly. The fol­low­ing are three exam­ples of US-util­i­ties deploy­ing this flex­i­ble solu­tion.

The ener­gy land­scape in the USA is as diverse as the coun­try itself. In par­tic­u­lar, the dis­tri­b­u­tion net­works reflect many of the geo­graph­i­cal con­trasts. Thou­sands of oper­a­tors sup­ply end users with electricity—from sprawl­ing rur­al areas with tra­di­tion­al infra­struc­ture, to urban metrop­o­lis­es with high indus­tri­al den­si­ty and smart grid infra­struc­tures. Com­pared to Euro­pean grids, a spe­cial fea­ture of US dis­tri­b­u­tion net­works is that the low-volt­age net­works are most­ly 120V single-phase—an archi­tec­ture that has proven par­tic­u­lar­ly effec­tive for sup­ply­ing the often sprawl­ing res­i­den­tial areas. The advan­tages are obvi­ous where con­sumers are spread over a large area: Sin­gle-phase sys­tems are sim­pler to install, require few­er oper­at­ing resources, and thus low­er invest­ment out­lays. How­ev­er, per­for­mance is also more lim­it­ed com­pared to three-phase sys­tems, and volt­age fluc­tu­a­tions and imbal­ances occur more eas­i­ly if loads are not even­ly dis­trib­uted across the phase.

“Util­i­ties need a cost-effec­tive alter­na­tive to expen­sive grid expan­sion.”

Robert Vary, CEO and Pres­i­dent of Rein­hausen Man­u­fac­tur­ing

VRDT — a cost-effective solution

Rein­hausen CEO and Pres­i­dent Robert Vary under­stands that the ener­gy indus­try in the USA is fac­ing a whole range of chal­lenges: “Weath­er extremes, the inte­gra­tion of renew­able ener­gy resources, the elec­tri­fi­ca­tion of the trans­porta­tion sec­tor, the mod­ern­iza­tion of par­tial­ly obso­lete infra­struc­ture, the increas­ing cus­tomer-cen­tric approach, and the strength­en­ing net­work resilience are major tasks con­fronting a sub­stan­tial num­ber of dis­tri­b­u­tion net­work oper­a­tors.” Mr. Vary fur­ther notes that “the volt­age reg­u­lat­ing dis­tri­b­u­tion trans­former (VRDT) is a promis­ing solu­tion to these chal­lenges because it enables flex­i­ble volt­age reg­u­la­tion in the dis­tri­b­u­tion grids, thus reduc­ing the need for larg­er cap­i­tal invest­ments in addi­tion­al infra­struc­ture upgrades. An increas­ing num­ber of util­i­ties are acknowl­edg­ing its effec­tive­ness.”

Small tap-changer for big tasks

Sin­gle-phase on-load tap-chang­er for volt­age reg­u­lat­ing dis­tri­b­u­tion trans­form­ers: ECOTAP® VPD® I
This tap-chang­er for sin­gle-phase appli­ca­tions was devel­oped specif­i­cal­ly for the US mar­ket and can be eas­i­ly inte­grat­ed into pole- or pad-mount dis­tri­b­u­tion trans­form­ers. It offers a wide con­trol range and is main­te­nance-free. It makes pos­si­ble the use of VRDTs in the US mar­ket which offer crit­i­cal ben­e­fits to util­i­ties such as mul­ti­ply­ing net­work absorp­tion capac­i­ty, sup­port­ing ener­gy effi­cien­cy pro­grams, and elim­i­nat­ing cost­ly rewiring.

ECOTAP® VPD® for single-phase transformers

Vary knows that many util­i­ties face major chal­lenges when the exist­ing infra­struc­ture can no longer main­tain the volt­age band with­in the man­dat­ed band­width: “These util­i­ties need an afford­able, low-labor and expe­di­ent alter­na­tive to cost­ly and lengthy grid expan­sion. And this is pre­cise­ly where Reinhausen’s role in the USA becomes cru­cial. With our ECOTAP® VPD® I on-load tap-chang­er for sin­gle-phase dis­tri­b­u­tion trans­form­ers, VRDTs become a viable option. Con­se­quent­ly, we are able to resolve the major­i­ty of issues for dis­tri­b­u­tion sys­tem oper­a­tors, enabling them to regain con­trol over their volt­age band.” The three exam­ples at left show how Rein­hausen solves the prob­lems of region­al US util­i­ties with VRDTs. 

A voltage regulating distribution transformer (VRDT) solves the most pressing challenges on US distribution networks

Thou­sands of oper­a­tors sup­ply end con­sumers with elec­tric­i­ty. Because the low-volt­age grid in the USA is most­ly sin­gle-phase, Rein­hausen has devel­oped a tap-chang­er that can be used to imple­ment VRDT. The first util­i­ties are already ben­e­fit­ing from high­er grid con­sump­tion capac­i­ties and a more sta­ble volt­age band.

1 Delaware Elec­tric Co-Op 2 New Hamp­shire Elec­tric Co-Op 3 Hum­boldt Util­i­ties (Ten­nessee) 4 Avan­grid (New York) 5 San Diego Gas & Elec­tric 6 Con­sol­i­dat­ed Edi­son (New York) 7 pep­co (Wash­ing­ton, D. C.) 8 Nation­al Grid (New York) 9 Con­sumers Ener­gy (Michi­gan) 10 Hawai­ian Elec­tric


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