DISTRIBUTECH 2015: Meter communications, microgrid control and storm outage data


Aclara Technologies, Siemens, Oracle are some of the utility industry companies announcing new products and partnerships at large-scale US trade event DistribuTech, taking place in San Diego this week.

Utility communications company Aclara is launching an IP-enabled solution that aims to provide water, gas and electric utilities with high-speed and secure networks using their public key infrastructure, and bring cellular connectivity to meters and other devices on utility networks.

The product, Metrum LTE, which is based on 4G LTE, allows direct communications to supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) devices, as well as commercial and residential meters, and enables utilities to do more on their networks, such as reconfiguring meters over the air.

Metrum LTE combines with Aclara’s iiDEAS platform to provide smart grid applications including advanced metering infrastructure, outage and restoration management, conservation voltage reduction, volt/Var optimization, and fault detection and location.

Microgrid management

Siemens launches microgrid management software at DistribuTECH_Meanwhile, Siemens has raised the curtain on its first microgrid management software to control distributed power generation.

The Spectrum Power 7 Microgrid Management System (SP7 MGMS) allows operators to manage distributed energy resources using integrated renewable generation and weather and load forecasting in a bid to ensure the reliability and power quality of a microgrid.

Operators can plan power generation based on energy market price forecasts from 15 minute to hourly increments and up to day-ahead or seven dayahead horizons.

The idea is to allow microgrid operators to achieve full economic value from the microgrid while maintaining their traditional base load needs and minimizing carbon footprint.

Built on a SCADA platform, the SP7 MGMS system is automated and does not require traditional 24-7 monitoring.

In other Siemens news, the solutions giant has teamed with US grid software company Utilidata in a global reseller agreement that will see Siemens customers offered voltage optimization software through its Utilidata’s Energy Automation Solution portfolio.

Storm data analysis

Oracle is also using DistribuTech as a platform this week to announce updates to the company’s Oracle Utilities Outage Analytics dashboards and ETL technology.

The 2.5.1 release includes features that allow utilities to organize and analyze incoming storm data in near real time.

ETL technology via Oracle Data Integrator and Oracle GoldenGate provides details such as outage density, customer outages color coded by square miles or regions, crews and assignments, and estimated restoration time.

Oracle Utilities Analytics 2.5.1 also helps improve reliability management and associated regulatory reporting for utilities. The solution’s historical outage dashboard shows data such as service area segment performance, device type, and worst-performing assets that utilities can analyze in order to pinpoint weaknesses in the grid and inform repair and replace decisions.