National Grid to deploy Utilidata voltage optimization system
UTILIDATA INC. has signed a contract with National Grid to deploy its AdaptiVolt automated voltage and VAR optimization system on seven electric distribution circuits in Rhode Island. The contract was announced a week before U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse invited Utilidata Chairman and CEO Scott DePasquale to attend Tuesday’s State of the Union address as his guest.
PROVIDENCE – Utilidata Inc. will deploy its AdaptiVolt automated voltage and VAR optimization system on National Grid’s electric distribution circuits in Rhode Island for a pilot test of the technology, the company announced Jan. 22.
The contract is Utilidata’s first with National Grid, and AdaptiVolt will be the first voltage optimization system implemented on National Grid circuits.
“We ultimately chose Utilidata because voltage optimization is part of National Grid’s strategy to continue to provide our customers with safe, reliable services, while increasing customer value through energy efficiency,” said Timothy F. Horan, president of National Grid Rhode Island. “Utilidata’s innovative approach to voltage control by using digital signal processing is unique in the industry and brings results on both voltage control and reduced voltage regulator operations.”
AdaptiVolt leverages digital signal processing to extract information from voltage data on the electric distribution grid, allowing for better-informed, real-time decisions by grid operators and more efficient energy control.
“The best way to think of an electric distribution grid is like a river with a dam,” said Jeremy Wilson, director of technical sales and co-founder of Utilidata. “Electricity flows the same way water does. Think of the water gate as an electric distribution substation. Typically, the operator controls the distribution at the dam and lets the water spill as needed. Now we can put sensors out along the river downstream … so operators have visibility on what’s happening.”
Under the contract with National Grid, Utilidata will deploy AdaptiVolt on seven National Grid circuits in Rhode Island to test the system’s effectiveness in delivering efficient voltage control. A similar test conducted on American Electric Power’s circuits in Ohio improved energy efficiency by 3 percent, Wilson said.
Utilidata’s joint research and development agreement with American Electric Power, the fifth largest utility in the country, is the company’s largest active contract, with operations in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. In Ohio alone, Utilidata has deployed AdaptiVolt on more than 80 electric distribution circuits, and recently signed an order for 40 more circuits.
While the contract with National Grid is small by comparison – deploying AdaptiVolt on seven of Rhode Island’s hundreds of circuits – Wilson said the pilot test could lead to broader deployment of AdaptiVolt with National Grid if the results show improved energy savings. Utilidata’s contract with American Electric Power began with six circuits in Ohio.
Wilson was not able to speak to the total value of the National Grid contract.
Last month, Utilidata completed a $20 million Series B round of financing led by San Francisco-based Formation 8 Partners and Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures to support the company’s research and development and to expand its product base in North America, Asia and the Middle East.
On Monday, U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse announced today that Utilidata Chairman and CEO Scott DePasquale would attend President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday as Whitehouse’s guest.
“Scott’s work is a great Rhode Island example of how innovative businesses can help jump start our state’s economy,” said Whitehouse in a prepared statement. “Furthermore, as we continue fighting the effects of climate change, Scott’s business helps transmit energy in a more efficient way that can reduce harmful carbon pollution. I thank Scott for his work in this field, and I look forward to hearing from the president about his vision for America’s clean energy future.”