In Europe, Austria is emerging as a testbed for smart grid and smart metering interoperability as major players Itron and Kamstrup release news this week about a new consortium.
Itron said in a statement that it had formed a metering alliance to meet Austrian industry requirements for energy companies to select technology from multiple meter suppliers.
By combining Kamstrup's Omnipower smart meter with Itron's OpenWay Riva communications module, the companies claim that utilities can deploy a single network that incorporates radio frequency (RF) and power line carrier (PLC).
Other members of the Austrian metering alliance, which Itron terms as "an expanded partner ecosystem", include Kapsch BusinessCom and Kapsch Smart Energy, Itron’s local ICT integration partner, technology and solution supplier Schrack Technik Energie, EMH Metering and Wasion Group.
Metering alliance for growth
Itron said it intends to replicate the metering alliance across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
Jeff Carkhuff, vice president of global solutions marketing for electricity at Itron, said: “With this expansion of our partner ecosystem, Itron is bringing leading edge technology in a multi-vendor, standards-compliant solution to utilities in EMEA."
Kamstrup said the collaboration with Itron follows metering alliances with NURI Telecom and Silver Spring Networks to expand its partnering network and within the energy and water industry.
Austria smart meters
Smart meter and smart grid activity in Austria is hotting up as the country prepares to meet mandated rollout deadlines.
In April 2012, the Minister of Economy issued a timetable for electricity network operators to convert 70% of metering points to smart solutions by 2017 and 95% by 2019.
The main rollout of meters is expected in 2016-2017, which explains a rash of recent deals in the European Union country.
In July 2015, electricity utility Netz Burgenland Strom awarded a tender to Telekom Austria Group M2M to provide its 4G/LTE network for mobile-based residential smart meters in its service area.
A month earlier, the same utility commissioned Landis+Gyr to supply and deploy smart meters fitted with G3 PLC technology as well as the smart metering platform Gridstream.
At the same time, an Austrian consortium of energy suppliers issued a tender for approximately 880,000 end points.
Energy provider Energienetze Steiermark has teamed with Energie Graz and Feistritzwerke Steweag in a bid to ensure a smooth implementation of smart meters in the Austrian city of Graz and its surrounding areas.