Ventyx has announced the availability of model-based volt/VAR optimization (VVO) as a commercially available application in the newest release of Ventyx Network Manager DMS (distribution management system). The new functionality will enable users to improve the efficiency and reliability of distribution systems, reducing demand and environmental impact.

Network Manager DMS is an application for distribution management, providing monitoring and control, network analysis and outage management in a single, integrated utility software platform. Release 5.3 of the application provides a platform for power distributors’ smart grid operations. Model-based volt/VAR optimization combines advanced sensing, capacitor and voltage regulator controllers, two-way communications, geographic information system (GIS) modeling and mathematical optimization capabilities to improve efficiency and reliability.

“Network Manager DMS 5.3 delivers true, model-based VVO,” said Oscar Tillberg, vice president and general manager of Ventyx Distribution Operations Solutions. “It is the new way of controlling voltage and reactive power on distribution systems, and it is a significant technological advancement compared to local and script-based centralized controls.

“There is a strong business case for investing in VVO. As the distribution network changes, the model is changed dynamically to ensure that optimal conditions prevail. The resulting reductions peak demand bring considerable savings, with no impact on the end customer.”

Model-based VVO uses a dynamic operating model of the distribution system, along with a mathematical optimization algorithm, to optimize the performance of the distribution system with a given operating objective. The basis of the dynamic operating model of the distribution system is typically the distribution connectivity model as found in a distribution organization’s GIS. The model is adjusted in the utility’s control room, either by operators or via an interface to the network’s SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) system, which transmits changes in the status of system components.

Oklahoma Gas & Electric (OG&E) is in the process of implementing the new VVO application as a key initiative in its smart grid plan. The objective is to reduce peak demand by approximately 75 MW within the next eight years by adopting volt/VAR on 400 circuits. In 2010, OG&E tested VVO on four circuits and observed that the peak demand reduction was between 0.8-2.4 percent.