Neoenergia innovates with automation technology for Volt/VAr control


The new system aims to improve the quality of energy supplied to customers and was installed in a pilot project in the region of Atibaia, in São Paulo

Neoenergia installed the AIRq System (Intelligent Automation of Power Quality Networks) in voltage regulator equipment and capacitor banks. This technology uses information from the network to automatically adjust the voltage and power factor to the ideal level, which is why it is known in the industry as Volt/VAr control (voltage and reactive power measurement units) . The system was implemented in a pilot model in the municipalities of Atibaia, Bom Jesus dos Perdões and Nazaré Paulista, in São Paulo, a region that has received robust investments from the company in network modernization, through the project Future Energy.

“Automation in network equipment provides more and more quality to our customers and, therefore, our focus on investments in the area. Now, with Volt/VAr control through the AIRq System, we will have, in addition to the direct benefits for customers, more energy efficiency and reduction of technical losses”says the superintendent of Smart Grids at Neoenergia, Ricardo Leite.

To operate the AIRq System, panels were installed on voltage regulators and capacitor banks, which are located on the poles. With these panels, it is possible to transmit voltage and power factor data to a central server, which has a global view of the network. From this information, in an automated way, maneuvers are carried out so that the voltage and reactive levels are constantly at the best levels. The technology began operating on 20 feeders and 46 pieces of equipment.

As a practical example, it is possible to consider an increase in the load of a customer to the point of reducing the voltage of the electrical network in the neighborhood – a situation in which, in real time, the Volt/VAr control itself would be able to make decisions so that this would not affect other consumers in the region. Furthermore, in regions where there is a growth in distributed generation, this system helps to dynamically regulate the voltage during the day, when there is normally an increase. This is the reality of Atibaia, which has received, since 2018 (the year in which the Energy of the Future Project was started), more than 80 photovoltaic systems that have an installed capacity of 330 kWp and generate 500 MWh/year. The funds came from the Energy Efficiency Program (PPE) of Neoenergia Elektro.

With the AIRq System, in addition to gaining more energy efficiency and reducing technical losses, the company can optimize the power factor in substations and feeders – a measure that indicates the efficiency with which energy is being used – and take actions to maintain always within the quality levels required by the National Electric Energy Agency (Aneel), in addition to being able to reduce technical losses. The company can also reduce administrative costs, by reducing the need for field teams to travel in the operation of the now automated equipment.

Future Energy Project

Through the Energia do Futuro Project, Neoenergia transformed Atibaia into a national reference for DSO (Distribution System Operator), a trend in the global electricity sector in which companies become operators of a complex distribution system that includes, for example, distributed generation. in residences and electric mobility. Among the smart grid equipment, there are sensors and reclosers that operate in an automated way.

“We install smart meters for our 75,000 customers, enabling direct communication between the consumer unit and Neoenergia Elektro, enabling the detection of interruptions and the restoration of supply in an automated way through the automatic reconfiguration system (self healing), among others. benefits. This equipment will also contribute to the growth of solar generation, a clean source, by allowing better quality in energy supply and by being prepared for bidirectional energy measurement”reinforces Ricardo Leite.

To connect all these technologies, Neoenergia invested in the installation of the first private 4G network operated by a company in the electricity sector in Latin America. Now, the company has started the project expansion plan and, through a proof of concept (PoC), will evaluate the use of a frequency band with greater ranges and expand the communication network with efficiency and lower cost.

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