What is CVR?

Energy Conservation through Dynamic Voltage Management

What Is CVR (also known as Voltage Optimization)?

According to the US Department of Energy, due to inefficiencies in the electrical grid, up to 67% of energy used to create electricity is wasted by the time the consumer uses the electricity. Conservation Voltage Regulation (CVR) or Voltage Optimization (VO)  is a technique for improving the efficiency of the electrical grid by optimizing voltage on the feeder lines that run from substations to homes and businesses. Utilities have been experimenting with CVR for over 30 years. Although it was partially implemented in California in 1977, CVR has not been widely adopted due to high costs and technical limitations. In the past, broad implementation of CVR would require extensive additions to the utility infrastructure, adding many substations and shortening feeder lines. MicroPlanet’s new technologies enable CVR to be implemented easily and economically.

..voltage conservation is one of the more important applications that utilities should consider as part of their grid modernization efforts.
Sierra Energy Group Report for Elster

In the US, regulations require that voltage be made available to consumers at 120V +/- 5% – which yields a range of 126V to 114V (European Standards: 230V +/- 10%). On any feeder line, especially those over three miles long, voltage on the line gradually decreases as the cumulative load (number of customers) on the line increases. This is called “line drop.” Because of line drop, power must be transmitted at a high enough voltage that the last house on the end of the line gets at least 114V. Consequently, power is often transmitted from the substation at 126V. US homes receive an average of 122.5V, with approximately 90% of homes and businesses receiving more voltage than they need.

CVR lowers the voltage at which electrical power is delivered and yields on average, a 1% energy savings for each 1% in voltage reduction down to 114V. With MicroPlanet CVR technology it is now far less expensive to save energy at the point of consumption, than it is to increase the capacity of the grid or create additional generation from power plants.

Additional Benefits of CVR

Electrical equipment, including air conditioning, refrigeration, appliances and lighting is designed to operate most efficiently at 114V. If power is delivered at a voltage higher than 114V, energy is wasted. Higher than necessary voltage also shortens the useful life of many types of equipment, since the excess energy is dissipated as heat.

Delivering voltages at the optimal levels reduces consumption, improves service quality and extends the life of equipment. Utilities and consumers save energy and lower operating costs. By reducing the need to generate additional energy at power plants, CVR also helps to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Electricity Consumption Changes Based on Location

With the same behavior or usage levels, an electrical bill can be considerably higher for a business or home if they receive voltage higher than 114V due to being close to a substation.