ABB has formally launched its line voltage regulator product family for distribution networks. The new LVR is intended to improve reliability as grids receive more electricity from renewable energy installations, leading to more dynamic and intermittent power entering the mix. This can result in instability and frequent variation of voltage levels in the distribution network, which can pose a risk to electrical equipment if beyond the maximum allowable level set by regulators. The line voltage regulator is designed to help manage these variations and adjust the voltage accordingly.

ABB offers line voltage regulators for medium-voltage and for low-voltage grids. The MV regulator is available for ratings up to 8 MVA and the LV regulator for ratings up to 250 kVA, and both allow the voltage to be adjusted by up to +/-10%. Both products are designed for quick installation and have low energy losses.

"This latest line voltage regulator can automatically adjust the voltage based on the actual load or generation mix in the distribution system, addressing a key stability challenge posed by the increasing amount of renewables entering the power network," said Bernhard Jucker, president of ABB’s Power Products division. "It can make an important contribution in the evolution of smarter and greener grids. This development is in line with our Next Level Strategy, and addresses the dynamics of the evolving power grid."

ABB developed the LVR in conjunction with Germany’s "Networks of the future/Smart Country" initiative. It has worked with the German utility RWE AG to test it on distribution grids in Germany, as well as separately in Switzerland where since 2014 it has been successfully smoothing out the typical voltage fluctuations generated by a solar power station in a rural area.