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The smart grid's next phase? Silver Spring targets munis and co-ops

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By Jesse Berst

 

When the smart grid stimulus funding was announced, many investor-owned utilities (IOUs) mobilized themselves to take advantage. With that motivator no longer present, most IOUs have reverted to dither mode. They just can't seem to pull the trigger on major new smart grid initiatives.

 

And who can blame them considering all the other things fighting for their attention? They are under pressure to close coal and nuclear plants, to build more natural gas plants, to integrate renewables and to drastically improve reliability. And all that in a climate where load growth (and therefore revenue growth) is slowing while regulated returns are dropping while key personnel are retiring and while regulators are often refusing to allow them to recoup costs from earlier smart grid projects.

 

As a result of the stall in IOU projects, most smart grid vendors are looking to North America's municipals and co-ops as the next wave of growth. Monday, Silver Spring Networks further validated this direction with the announcement of a smart grid solution optimized for munis and co-ops.

Silver Spring Networks Extends Smart Infrastructure Platform for Unique Needs of Municipal and Cooperative Utilities

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New Ready-to-Deploy Municipal and Cooperative Smart Grid Solution Speeds Evaluation, Reduces Risk, Lowers Costs, and Empowers Citizens

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Kissimmee, FL and Redwood City, CA – March 25, 2013 – Today at the American Public Power Association’s Engineering & Technical Operations conference, Silver Spring Networks, Inc. (NYSE: SSNI) announced it is extending its smart infrastructure platform with a new smart grid solution optimized for the unique needs of municipal and cooperative utilities. With a focus on making it easy to rapidly scope, deploy and test results, the new solution is a cost-effective and ready-to-deploy smart grid offering that enables municipal and cooperative utilities to rollout a sophisticated Advanced Metering Infrastructure program for electricity, water, and natural gas customers today. The new standards-based solution also establishes a foundation for future initiatives such as Demand Response, Distribution Automation, and other critical municipal infrastructure applications. Silver Spring’s open IPv6-based networking platform enables utilities and infrastructure operators of all sizes, and across all geographies, to deploy a broad array of smart grid and Smart City solutions today.

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“Almost 40 million customers are served by 3,000 municipal and cooperative energy providers in the US alone. Providing these operators with a cost-effective and ready-to-deploy solution means that all citizens can benefit from the full capabilities of our industry leading smart infrastructure platform,” said Scott Lang, Chairman, President & CEO of Silver Spring Networks. “Our proven, standards-based networking infrastructure enables rapid deployment of new and innovative smart grid solutions and establishes the foundation for future Smart City services such as streetlight control, traffic management, and other municipal infrastructure applications.”

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Silver Spring is partnering with CPS Energy, the largest combined electricity and natural gas municipal utility in the United States, to deploy a smart grid network that includes advanced metering, Distribution Automation, and demand reduction solutions across CPS’ San Antonio, Texas service territory. Silver Spring is also partnering with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District to deliver multiple smart grid applications over the Silver Spring network, including Advanced Metering, Distribution Automation for improved reliability, and communications to in-home devices.

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“Silver Spring’s open, standards-based networking platform gives us the foundation we need to deliver advanced smart grid services to all of Sacramento’s citizens,” said Paul Lau, Assistant General Manager of Power Supply and Grid Operations of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District. “Much the same way smartphones have opened up a new wave of consumer applications, together with Silver Spring we are creating the platform for next-generation smart grid applications and services for our users.”

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The new Silver Spring Municipal and Cooperative Smart Grid Solution combines all of the networking infrastructure, hardware, head-end software, and professional services required to cost-effectively and quickly initiate an Advanced Metering Infrastructure program for electricity, water and natural gas customers today. With this new solution, municipal and cooperative utilities can improve operational efficiency, increase overall system reliability, speed outage detection and service restoration, empower consumers, and establish a future-proofed platform for long-term power grid modernization. For more information on the new Silver Spring Municipal and Cooperative Smart Grid Solution please visit www.silverspringnet.com/bigsolutions.

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Silver Spring is also expanding the functionality of its smart infrastructure platform to support Smart City solutions such as intelligent street lighting, traffic signal control, and electric vehicle charging, among others. And with more than 70 partners globally and growing, the Silver Spring Partner Program continues to expand its geographic and technical reach to deliver its customers the choice and interoperability they need today.

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About Silver Spring Networks

Silver Spring Networks is a leading networking platform and solutions provider for smart energy networks. Our pioneering IPv6 networking platform, with 15.8 million Silver Spring enabled devices delivered, is connecting utilities to homes and business throughout the world with the goal of achieving greater energy efficiency for the planet. Silver Spring’s innovative solutions enable utilities to gain operational efficiencies, improve grid reliability, and empower consumers to monitor and manage energy consumption. Silver Spring Networks customers include major utilities around the globe such as Baltimore Gas & Electric, CitiPower & Powercor, Commonwealth Edison, CPS Energy, Florida Power & Light, Jemena Electricity Networks Limited, Pacific Gas & Electric, Pepco Holdings, Inc., and Progress Energy, among others. For more information please visit www.silverspringnet.com.