6 smart grid projects you don't see every day


By Liz Enbysk

SGN Managing Editor


Reading smart meters over white space in Cambridge

Cambridge, England has deployed what's being called the world’s first city-wide, fully-functional wireless network in white space, which is the unused and underused parts of the wireless spectrum. Those involved in the Cambridge initiative say it will eventually enable a whole host of Smart City applications. To demonstrate, technology company Neul and Bglobal Metering last week showcased a smart electricity meter reading over the white space network. In addition to the smart grid, Neul says its network "opens up several fascinating possibilities for the Smart City of the future, enabling smarter transport and traffic management, city lighting and other municipal services." Get more details on page 2 >>


In rural India, solar microgrids may light the way

Millions of residents in rural India light their homes with kerosene lamps and may face long treks to town to charge their cell phones at a kiosk. But a company called Mera Gao Power is out to change that by building and operating low-cost, solar-powered microgrids in Indian villages. Helped by falling solar panel prices and LEDs, and a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development, Mera Gao Power has deployed its first commercial microgrid in nine villages and has its sights set on 40 more. According to the MIT Review, which named the company's microgrid technology to its list of 10 Emerging Technologies, it isn't a substitute for grid power as it only supports lighting and cell phone charging at present. But it's what villagers want and can pay for, since  the microgrid installation costs can be spread across a village. Read more >>


On the Kalamazoo River, a vintage hydro plant gets a microgrid

Encorp recently completed a $300,000 500KW microgrid project at the century-old hydroelectric power plant located on the Kalamazoo River in southern Michigan that will allow the plant to continue supplying residents with sufficient, reliable energy.  Fort Collins, Colorado-based Encorp said it restored the plant’s energy protection and control equipment so it continues functioning as originally designed more than a century ago. Encorp also supplied grid interconnection and automated control equipment for the power plant’s 1920-vintage hydroelectric generators. Read more about the project on page 2 >>

Scroll down for press releases from Neul, Encorp, Honeywell and ABB  and Zotos ...

Neul Launches World’s First City-Wide White Space Network

Highlights Smart City use cases by demonstrating the world’s first smart meter reading over white space

CAMBRIDGE, England--()--Neul, the world leader in technologies for the Internet of the Things, today announced the deployment in Cambridge of the world’s first city-wide, fully-functional wireless network in white space, enabling a whole host of Smart City applications. To demonstrate this network Neul, in collaboration with Bglobal Metering, is today, showcasing the world’s first-ever smart electricity meter reading over a white space network. This is the first step towards smart electricity grids that will allow electricity supply to be more efficiently matched to real-time demand.

"It hasn't. Mobile broadband is too expensive for 'things' in the Smart City. Also mobile broadband means battery powered devices would need changing far too often. And all those sensors would load the cellular networks to such a level that there would be little network capacity left.”

White space is the unused and underused parts of the wireless spectrum. For example, around the world many TV channels are left vacant in most locations. Neul’s technology opens up these channels and will also allow underused frequencies within other UHF licensed and unlicensed bands to be used efficiently for wireless communication.

Neul’s network builds upon the successful completion of the first phase of the Cambridge White Space Consortium's network, also announced today. The Consortium’s phase one network used Neul's equipment and cloud interface, together with the Weightless communications standard, to prove that its white space network co-exists perfectly with televisions and wireless microphones without causing interference or disruption. Neul’s network will now build upon that foundation for commercial trials later this year with full roll out anticipated in 2013.

In addition to the smart grid, Neul’s network opens up several fascinating possibilities for the Smart City of the future, enabling smarter transport and traffic management, city lighting and other municipal services.

"In a world of Smart Phones and mobile broadband it is easy to imagine that wireless connectivity has now been solved,” commented Glenn Collinson, co-founder and Board Member at Neul. "It hasn't. Mobile broadband is too expensive for 'things' in the Smart City. Also mobile broadband means battery powered devices would need changing far too often. And all those sensors would load the cellular networks to such a level that there would be little network capacity left.

"Mobile networks are great for people but terrible for machines. At Neul we are today demonstrating that the smart city can happen now with a new wireless standard called 'Weightless' specifically designed for embedding in electricity and gas meters, air quality sensors, recycling points, street lighting, parking spaces, traffic lights and ... well ... ‘things’ rather than people."

"In the last few years we’ve heard a great deal about white space and the opportunities it will bring. With many countries approving the necessary legislation, the launch of the world’s first city-wide white space network coupled with the demonstration of a smart meter reading over white space is a major milestone towards the realisation of these opportunities.” commented Will Strauss, Chief Analyst Forward Concepts. "Technologies available today simply cannot realistically deal with the cost, power and propagation requirements of many elements of the Smart City. This sharp movement towards a world of ubiquitous machine-to-machine communication has huge implications and the industry will be watching closely."

Neul’s network comprises

  • Five base stations around the city of Cambridge.
  • One base station in a rural community south of Cambridge.
  • A cloud-hosted network Operational & Management Centre (OMC) that efficiently and securely manages the communications between the internet and the ‘Things’.
  • Support for multiple geo-location databases that ensure wireless microphones, TV transmission and reception is not disrupted.



Encorp advances1893 power plant into 21th century

FORT COLLINS, COLO. - April 23, 2012 - Encorp LLC recently completed a 500-kilowatt microgrid project atthe century-old hydroelectric power plant in Marshall, Mich., that will allowthe plant to continue supplying residents with sufficient, reliable energy.

The $300,000Marshall hydroelectric power plant project is Encorp’s fourth microgridinstallation in the last year.

Encorp, adistributed energy control company headquartered in Fort Collins, Colo., restored the historic power plant’s energy protection and control equipment so itcontinues functioning as originally designed more than a century ago. Encorpsupplied grid interconnection and automated control equipment for the powerplant’s 1920-vintage hydroelectric generators. The power plant is located onthe Kalamazoo River in southern Michigan.

In addition to connectingthe plant’s local generation units, Encorp’s control equipment will monitor theriver’s water pressure and automatically adjust hydroelectric power output toachieve maximum benefit. The microgrid project will help the power plant reducemaintenance and operation costs, and continue providing reliable,around-the-clock power to Marshall’s 4,500 residential and 662 light industrialand commercial customers.

Encorp capitalizeson opportunities to provide integrated systems involving non-traditional formsof power generation coupled with automated controls andSCADA monitoring.

"With the Marshallproject, we performed a complicated retrofit on vintage hydroelectric units andmodernized the hydros’ control system with run-the-river controls and a newWeb-enabled SCADA monitoring package,” said Michael Clark, Encorp’s president. "Theirnew Encorp protection and control system will be easier to operate, help reducecosts, extend the life of their power generation units and allow them to operateat maximum efficiency. This microgrid project affirms our ongoing successintegrating non-traditional forms of local generation to improve efficiency andreduce costs.”

About Encorp, LLC

Encorp, a Primary Integration company located in Fort Collins , Colo., develops and markets software and hardware technology solutions forthe communication, control and networking of distributed energy.

Encorphardware and software products enable hospitals, manufacturers, officebuildings, schools and other sites to reduce energy costs by generating theirown electrical power using various fuel sources, including renewables.

Encorp'senergy-tech offerings and grid interconnection expertise advance energy savings, securityand efficiencyfor microgrid, CHP and demand response installations. For more information,call Encorp at 888-295-4141 or visit www.encorp.com.





Southern California Chapter of Association of Energy Engineers

Honors Demand Response Project for Significant Energy Savings

MINNEAPOLIS, April 24, 2012 - Honeywell (NYSE: HON) today announced that the company’s smart grid project with Custom Building Products won the "Energy Project of the Year” award from the Southern California Chapter of the Association for Energy Engineers (AEE). The Honeywell project provides Custom Building Products with precise control over how its Bell, Calif., manufacturing facility uses energy, enabling it to automatically respond to changing peak electricity prices and trim utility bills.

The award recognizes the project for its high level of substantiated savings, which will enable the work to pay for itself within an estimated five months. Custom Building Products, a manufacturer of supplies for the construction industry, offset the $80,000 total project cost with rebates from Southern California Edison (SCE) and support from a Smart Grid Investment Grant Honeywell received from the Department of Energy in late 2009. Those funds lowered the out-of-pocket expenses to less than $3,000. And Custom Building Products expects to realize $6,000 in annual energy savings due to the upgrades and the resulting enhanced control.

For the project, Custom Building Products enrolled its 142,000-square-foot building in an automated demand response (Auto DR) program, managed by Honeywell, to control how facility equipment responds to SCE’s dynamic pricing structure. The structure bases electricity rates for commercial and industrial customers on consumption levels and generation costs, meaning prices rise significantly during periods of peak demand. 

Engineers installed technology to enable the facility’s existing automation system to receive and respond to price signals SCE sends using the Akuacom Demand Response Automation Server (DRAS) from Honeywell. The smart grid software automatically triggers load-shedding measures that Custom Building Products and Honeywell developed and programmed in advance. This includes safely shutting down all but two manufacturing lines during a peak pricing event to save costs while maintaining adequate production levels.

"This project enabled us to optimize our production lines to react to dynamic pricing, maximizing our energy savings in the process,” said Jim Bell, facilities and maintenance manager for Custom Building Products. "Honeywell also uncovered energy-efficiency opportunities while helping implement our complex automation strategies, which will lead to both short-term and permanent cost savings.”

As a result of the Honeywell’s Auto DR strategies, Custom Building Products can shed more than 330 kilowatts of its typical 520-kilowatt load during events for substantial savings.

In addition, Honeywell centralized energy management at the facility, enabling better monitoring and control of automated load reductions. This is also helping Custom Building Products meet Air Quality Management District (AQMD) standards in Southern California.

Honeywell and the Smart Grid

Honeywell has a legacy of working with utilities and their customers, giving it a unique perspective on how to quickly realize the benefits of the evolving grid. With controls in more than 150 million homes, 10 million buildings and thousands of industrial sites, and experience managing demand response and energy efficiency programs for more than 100 utilities, Honeywell has the offerings and experience to empower smart energy users. Visit www.honeywellsmartgrid.comfor additional detail on the company’s smart grid technology and services.

Custom Building Products

Custom® Building Products is widely recognized as a leading manufacturer of tile and stone installation systems for the North American market. Custom Building Products continually raises the standards for the tile and stone industry through its commitment to innovation, performance and exceptional customer service. For more information on the company’s broad family of quality tile and stone installation products, visit www.custombuildingproducts.com

Honeywell (www.honeywell.com) is a Fortune 100 diversified technology and manufacturing leader, serving customers worldwide with aerospace products and services; control technologies for buildings, homes and industry; automotive products; turbochargers; and specialty materials. Based in Morris Township, N.J., Honeywell’s shares are traded on the New York, London, and Chicago Stock Exchanges. For more news and information on Honeywell, please visit www.honeywellnow.com. Honeywell Building Solutions is part of the Honeywell Automation and Control Solutions business group, a global leader in providing product and service solutions that improve efficiency and profitability, support regulatory compliance, and maintain safe, comfortable environments in homes, buildings and industry. For more information about Building Solutions: www.honeywell.com/buildingsolutions.

This release contains certain statements that may be deemed "forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. All statements, other than statements of historical fact, that address activities, events or developments that we or our management intends, expects, projects, believes or anticipates will or may occur in the future are forward-looking statements. Such statements are based upon certain assumptions and assessments made by our management in light of their experience and their perception of historical trends, current economic and industry conditions, expected future developments and other factors they believe to be appropriate. The forward-looking statements included in this release are also subject to a number of material risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to economic, competitive, governmental, and technological factors affecting our operations, markets, products, services and prices. Such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance, and actual results, developments and business decisions may differ from those envisaged by such forward-looking statements.


ABB to construct Photovoltaic plant in Nevadafor SunEdison

ABB continues to expand its global solarpower presence into North America with new 24.8 MW PV plant, to supplyenergy to Nevada from an array of 87,000 solar panels.

Houston, Texas, April 25, 2012 - ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, today announcedthat it has secured a contract from SunEdison, a leading worldwide solarenergy services provider, to build a photovoltaic power plant at the ApexIndustrial Park in the City of North Las Vegas, Nevada. 

The 24.8 megawatt (MWdc) PV plant will supplyclean renewable solar power to NV Energy from an array of 87,168 solarpanels covering an area of 154 acres on private land, equivalent to approximately116 football fields. The PV power plant is set to start delivering powerto the grid in the second quarter of 2012.

SunEdison stated that ABB’s expertise ininterconnecting solar power onto the power grid using advanced power andautomation technologies played a key role in the selection, as did ABB’sexpertise in high voltage connections and substations. As a result, thispartnership will bring the benefits of solar power to the people of Nevada.

ABB's scope includes engineering design,supply, construction and commissioning of the balance of system (BOS) forthe 24.8 MWdc photovoltaic power plant. This scope includes plant designand installation of PV panels, inverters and trackers. 

The solution consists of the DC collectionsystem, AC transformation center, 69 kilovolt (kV) switchyard and interconnectionto the NV Energy transmission line. ABB will supply 2000 kVA pad mountedtransformers, medium voltage (MV) switchgear and the central plant SCADAsystem using the AC 500 automation system. This advanced control systemprovides remote control and diagnostics capability to maximize plant availability,production and efficiency.   

Supervisory control is based on ABB’s AC500programmable logic controller using Power Generation Portal (PGP) HumanSystem Interface (HSI). This advanced control system provides remote monitoring,control and diagnostics capability to maximize production and efficientplant operation.   

"The North American solar market continuesto experience unprecedented growth, and this solar EPC order, ABB’s firstin North America, firmly establishes ABB as a recognized turnkey supplierfor the PV solar market,” said Gary Shaw, ABB vice president and generalmanager, Renewables Americas. "With over 20 years experience in solarpower generation and unparalleled R&D efforts, ABB is driving the globalrenewable energy market. ABB’s high quality solutions, engineering expertiseand dedication will provide SunEdison with the support they need in complexprojects like this.” 

ABB (www.abb.com)is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility andindustry customers to improve performance while lowering environmentalimpact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries andemploys about 135,000 people. The company's North American operations,headquartered in Cary, North Carolina, employ about 20,000 people in multiplemanufacturing, service and other major facilities.




GENEVA, N.Y., Friday, April 20, 2012 â€" Earth Day will be extra special this year for hair-care manufacturer Zotos International Inc. as the company celebrates the largest wind project of any manufacturer in the United States and meets its goal of using 100 percent renewable energy for its electrical needs.

Zotos’ 3.3 MW on-site, wind energy project, which powers its 670,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Geneva, is a first in the beauty industry. The project is comprised of two 1,650 kW wind turbines.

"After years of hard work, dedication, and an unwavering commitment to sustainability, we have finally achieved a key milestone toward our vision of sustainable beauty,” said Anthony Perdigao, Vice President, Operations, and Chief Sustainability Officer at Zotos. "This is a historic moment for Zotos, our parent company, and our community. If we can do it, so can others." 

Zotos is a wholly owned subsidiary of global cosmetics leader Shiseido Co. Ltd. that manufactures hair-care and styling-aid products under the Zotos, JOICO, ISO, and Senscience brand names, among others.

The company’s wind project is expected to meet nearly 60 percent of the Geneva plant’s power needs. To achieve the plant’s goal of using 100 percent renewable energy for its electrical needs, Zotos recently entered into an agreement to purchase up to 9 million kWh of green energy.

According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), Zotos’ project is the largest wind project of any manufacturer in the United States. It’s also the first wind project of its kind in Ontario County, N.Y., and the largest private industrial wind plan in New York State. The 2009 federal stimulus bill, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), covered 30 percent of the wind project’s costs. 

Zotos invested in wind power as part of an overall sustainability initiative. The company’s other efforts include energy-efficient lighting, reductions in water consumption, a significant increase in rail use, and the use of 100 percent recycled materials in most of its packaging. Zotos also pioneered the use of plant-based plastics in its bottle production.  

Studies show that more consumers are buying sustainable products and the company’s numerous initiatives are critical to meeting this demand, Perdigao said. For its efforts, Zotos was recognized last year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as one of the EPA’s Top 20 Green Power Partners for On-Site Generation, ranking No. 18 in the nation (for more information, go to http://www.epa.gov/greenpower/toplists/top20onsite.htm).

 Zotos has been a success story for 80 years. Founded in 1929 as a manufacturer of permanent hair dyes, the company is owned by Shiseido Americas Corp. and has approximately 360 full-time employees and more than 400 flex-time employees at its Geneva plant.

"Zotos is proud to lead the way for other manufacturers interested in sustainability,” Perdigao said. "Our future depends on it.”

About Zotos International:

A wholly owned subsidiary of global cosmetics leader Shiseido Co. Ltd., Zotos International Inc. manufactures and markets a full range of hair-care and styling-aid products serving hair salons and professionals. Its products are sold under the Zotos, JOICO, ISO, Senscience, and Bain de Terre brand names, among others, and can be purchased at professional hair salons and beauty retailers worldwide.