French utility use AMI in alternative energy application


The system allows
homeowners to sell
back solar produced
electricity to the
(METERING.COM) — November 10, 2008 – The Group of Electricity Distributors in France (GAELD), a consortium of electricity distributors, has selected an advanced metering infrastructure system to service up to 90 000 homes by 2013.

Echelon’s Networked Energy Services (NES) System was chosen and the project was awarded to Echelon partner, Alter Way.

One of the utilities in the GAELD consortium, Regie d’electricite de Loos, is allowing homeowners to sell back solar produced electricity to the utility. They are doing so using the ability of NES meters to measure the amount of electricity produced separately from the energy consumed, as opposed to simple "net metering" in which the details of production versus consumption are lost, making this the first instance of Echelon’s meter to be used in an alternative energy application in France.

"We chose Echelon’s NES system because we believe it is the most advanced, flexible, and cost-effective metering infrastructure solution available. The NES system provides a solid, reliable backbone for our smart metering system, and integrates easily with software and solutions from other providers, ensuring us that we’re installing a truly future-proof solution," said Michel Fruchart, managing director, GAELD. "While the French market has many unique requirements, because of its flexible design the NES system can be adapted to our market without a costly and time consuming effort, giving us a solution that is available and deployable today and that we expect will meet our needs for years into the future. We believe that it will allow us to extend our system based on future needs and offerings we might want to provide to our customers at a later date, such as prepayment, remote reading of both gas and water meters, and in-home services."

The advanced metering infrastructure consists of a family of highly integrated, advanced electronic electricity meters, accessed via a web services based network operating system over an IP networking infrastructure. Unlike systems with a dedicated radio per metering point, multiple NES meters can share a single IP connection through the use of Echelon’s proven standards-based power line networking technology. This decreases the per-point connection cost, enabling the system to easily and cost-effectively incorporate new wide area networking technologies over the life of the system. Echelon’s open system interfaces allow the system to be cost-effectively expanded, adapted, and customized in ways unlike any competing system.

The NES system’s powerful web services based network operating system provides a standards-based platform for enterprise applications that enables quick and cost-effective integration. Open interfaces within NES meters enable a market for third-party add-ons that can expand and enhance the functionality of the meters, much as open interfaces in personal computers have led to an explosion of plug-in and external devices that transform the functionality of PCs.