Santiago smart grid city vision revealed


Rafael López Rueda,
Director General,
Santiago, Chile — (METERING.COM) — December 2,2008 – The vision for Santiago as a smart grid city has been revealed by Chilectra’s director general Rafael López Rueda, offering a futuristic impression of what Chile’s capital could look like in twenty years from now with smart metering, distributed generation and microgrids, smart buildings and homes, clean electric public transport and electric vehicles, and other facets of the smart grid.

Though not the vision that is being directly pursued, it is nevertheless the likely outcome of the plans that are being put in place by the utility as it works to transform its currently passive grid into an active grid.

In the keynote presentation at Smart Grids Latin America, which took place in Santiago from November 26-27, Rueda outlined the steps Chilectra is taking towards a smart grid, saying that the plan – which now forms part of Chilectra’s strategic plan – was launched in 2006. Since that time steps realized have included a review of the needs of the utility, an investigation into the state-of-the-art around the world and the production of a “white book” on smart grids in Chilectra, as well as the appointment of Alejandro Valenzuela as the smart grid plan director.

The plan is divided into four areas, covering systems, communications, projects and technologies and a matrix of projects for systems and communications and for the high, medium and low voltage levels. To transit to the integration of information in a shared dynamic system from which the company can benefit, an integrated monitoring platform will be developed bringing together dynamic monitoring, maintenance, operations, planning, analysis, commercial and engineering information with historical data. The platform will be available to all staff via a web portal.

Smart meters, a communication system with high availability and a management system will be required for an integrated on line system for the metering of energy and power. Real time data will be required on energy, power, voltages at points of sale and points of power withdrawal, power quality in the sub-transmission networks, management of demand and tolls, loss control and hourly demand prediction.

The development of a smart grid, however, will require regulatory changes and standards in Chile. Among these are the incorporation of smart meters and other smart home requirements in regulation, and standards for communications and information management as well as other emerging smart grid technologies.

To date four smart grid pilot projects are under way in Chilectra, Rueda said. These are in the operation control center, in the SCADA system, an integrated management and distribution information monitoring platform, and automation at the El Salto substation.

Saying that Chilectra’s vision is to be the best utility in Chile, Rueda commented that the company is guided by seven sustainability commitments to its conduct, the environment, innovation and energy efficiency, its shareholders, employees, customers, and society in general.

“The smart grid contributes to all our commitments,” said Rueda. “It is a tool to achieve our vision."