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When to Use DER’s Watts for Voltage Support?

Nokhum Markushevich

The DER’s Watts can be involved in voltage control in two ways: a) Watt curtailment to increase
the var capability to be used for voltage increase (the “Volt / var with var priority” function) and
b) additional Watt injection to reduce the upstream voltage drop. The former was discussed in
[1]. The latter is addressed below.

If the inverter of DER is capable of generating vars and the voltage needs to be increased, the
maximum use of available vars is preferred in most cases, unless the additional injections of
Watts also serve other objectives. If the maximum use of available vars is insufficient to raise
the voltage to the desired level, additional injections of Watts may help under some conditions.
These conditions include the resistance to reactance ratio (R/X ratio), the initial Watt
generation by the DER, the size of Watt addition, and the voltage levels from which and to
which the voltage should be raised.

The available vars depend on the Watt injection and on voltage at the inverter terminals
(nominal var capability). It may be further restricted by other operational limits (operational
capability). It means that by increasing the Watt injections to raise the voltage, the var
capability is reduced, which reduces the voltage. Which effect prevails defines the result.

Below are some examples of voltage change under different conditions mentioned above.

Figure 1 presents the relative voltage increase under different R/X ratios of the upstream from
the DER circuit, different Watt injections, and maximum use of the nominal var capabilities. The
initial voltage that should be increased is assumed to be 0.93 pu of the nominal voltage. The
voltage increase under R/X ratio equal 1/3 and at zero Watt injection is the reference value
(100%). As seen in the figure, the initial voltage increases (Watt=0) are different for different
R/X ratios, where the smallest increase is for the R/X=1/0.5. It is also seen in the figure that
the additional Watt injections provide some additional voltage increases up to a particular level
of Watt injections, but beyond that level, the voltage reduces with the increase of Watts,
because the loss of var capabilities reduces the voltage more than the increase due to Watt
additions.

The voltage increments due to additional Watts also depend on the initial Watt injections (see
Figure 2) and on the total increase of Watts (see Figure 2).

Figure 2 presents interval voltage increments due to Watt additions in steps of 10% from
different initial Watt injections. As seen in the figure, the increments start from positive values
under smaller initial Watt injections and become negative under larger initial injections of
Watts. The biggest positive percentage increment is for the biggest R/X ratio (underground
primary circuits). For the smaller R/X ratios, the negative increments start at small initial Watt
injections.

Figure 3 presents the cumulative voltage increase, when the Watt injections are changed from
zero to a given value. As seen in the figure, the biggest cumulative effect is achieved under R/X
= 2.

Figure 4 presents the difference in the effect of Watt injection on voltage increase for different
initial grid voltages. There is a greater nominal var capability of DERs under higher voltages,
and, therefore, the increments are slightly higher.

180%
170%
160%
150%
Voltage boost due to Q and P injections, %

140%
130%
120%
110%
100%
90%
80%
70%
60%
50%
40%
30%
20%
10%
0%
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110
DER's kW , %

R/X=1/5 R/X-1/4 R/X=1/3 R/X=1/2 R/X-1/1 R/X-1/0.5

Figure 1. Relative voltage boost due to injections of Qmax and different P injections. The initial voltage is 0.93 pu.
10%

0%
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100

Increment of Volts due to additional kW, %


-10%

-20%

-30%

-40%

-50%

-60%

-70%
DER's kW, %

R/X=1/5 R/X=1/4 R/X=1/3 R/X=1/1 R/X=1/2 R/X=1/0.5

Figure 2. Interval increments of voltage due to additional kW injections (normalized to the reference Increment)

40.0%

20.0%
Cumulative increment due to additional kW, %

0.0%
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110
-20.0%

-40.0%

-60.0%

-80.0%

-100.0%

-120.0%

-140.0%

-160.0%
DER's kW, %

R/X=1/5 R/X=1/4 R/X=1/3 R/X=1/2 R/X=1/1 R/X=1/2 R/X=1/0.5

Figure 3. Cumulative increments of voltage due to additional kW injections (normalized to the reference Increment)
10.0%

0.0%
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110

Cumulative increment due to additional kW, %


-10.0%

-20.0%

-30.0%

-40.0%

-50.0%

-60.0%

-70.0%
DER's kW, %

Increment -.0.93-tot Increment -.0.98-tot

Figure 4. Cumulative increments of voltage due to additional kW injections for two different initial voltages

Conclusions.

1. Available vars and Watts injections from DERs with smart inverters are interrelated
2. The effects of additional Watts from DERs on the circuit voltages depend on the resistance to
reactance ratio (R/X ratio), on the initial Watt generation by the DER, on the size of Watt
addition, and on the voltage levels from which and to which the voltage should be
raised.
3. In addition to the conditions mentioned above, other constraints of var injections
affecting the operational reactive power capabilities of DER, the value of Watts for other
objectives, and other available means of volt/var control should be taken into account
when deciding whether to use the Watt injection for voltage support.

Reference

1. Nokhum Markushevich, Vars versus Watts from Distributed Energy Resources. Available:
https://www.scribd.com/document/376740872/Vars-versus-Watts-from-Distributed-Energy-
Resources