GibralterGibraltar’s Electricity Authority (GEA) is finalising a smart grid project, which will see modular smart meters, G3-PLC communication modules and data concentrators installed, along with supporting meter data collection and management systems.

Speaking to Metering & Smart Energy International, Paul Thomas, Metering Officer with GEA, explains that the implementation of the smart metering project is as a direct result of European Union directives and H.M. Government of Gibraltar’s energy policy. The smart metering solution plays an integral part in GEA’s overall strategy on energy management for the geographically limited but highly densely populated service area.

GEA will be using an Elster supplied smart metering solution, which uses G3-PLC to assist the Government of Gibraltar in their drive to reduce CO² emissions both in terms of generation and end-user energy consumption.

The smart metering solution provides GEA with the ability to obtain accurate energy usage data to improve network management and generation requirements such as forecast energy usage. It also provides the necessary tools for GEA to further develop energy management policies and processes.

“Ultimately end-user customers will be provided with accurate and easily accessible consumption data, based on 15-minute load profiles via a web portal or mobile app – the objective being that by engaging customers into understanding their electricity consumption they will be able to effectively manage and reduce their electricity usage,” Thomas says.

This is seen as a critical factor as electricity is currently the only source of energy in Gibraltar.

Gibraltar, being located in southern Europe, provides an ideal location for renewable energy. The Government of Gibraltar is fully committed to the ideology of generating an increased proportion of Gibraltar’s electricity from renewable energy sources. The smart metering solution provides GEA with the ability to remotely monitor and integrate such energy sources, where as previously this was not possible.

Technical facts and figures

GEA will install 1,066 AS220 smart meters and 27 AS3000/AS3500 modular smart meters, with AM540 G3-PLC communication modules, 12 RTU+Server2 transparent gateway data concentrators and the EIServer Head End and meter data management suite.

The project will use the customer’s own fibre optic network, which is currently being installed for data flow between the gateways and the meter data collection system. Delivery of the hardware is to be expected by August, and the full system will be operational by end of 2015.

The pilot project is envisaged to run for 10 to 12 months with the customer web portal/mobile app coming online in the latter stages. Within this period the system’s technical performance, financial and environmental cost benefits will be assessed and evaluated. End-user engagement and changes to consumption behaviour will also be assessed, as will improvements to customer services. It is expected that smart metering will be deployed across all GEA service areas once the Government of Gibraltar gives final…

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