US Navy’s smart meters empower global enterprise solutions


By Bill Anderson

The Department of the Navy’s advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) programme is being implemented to comply with the Energy Policy Act 2005 (EPAct 05), Energy Independence and Security Act 2007 (EISA 07), and the American Recovery & Relief Act (AR&RA) mandates. The Navy will install advanced meters with two-way communication retrieving 15-minute interval data every hour.

There are financial, energy and utilities management, environmental, and societal benefits associated with the Navy’s AMI programme. AMI will provide opportunities to optimise energy consumption, labour, infrastructure replacement, and energy losses detection. By providing visibility of building level energy consumption Navy energy managers will be empowered to proactively manage energy use and conserve energy by shifting usage from peak demand periods. Also, the Navy will be able to benefit from dynamic pricing, demand response, energy conservation, efficient customer service, accurate billing, and rapid outage response. All of this will allow the Navy to approach greener power distribution by reducing its carbon footprint.

The programme will ensure all Navy installations have the same technical functionality. This includes information assurance packages prepared to ensure security and reliability of the communication network, and only DOD approved networks are to be utilised. Data, encryption, accreditation, and intrusion detection will be applied. Ultimately, no ubiquitous single solution will be found. The communication solution will vary from one installation to the other.

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Figure 1 – Naval Base Ventura County pilot

There are risks that have been considered and to be mitigated in the deployment of the Navy’s AMI network. There will certainly be software upgrades at both the Data Acquisition Servers (DAS), Meter Data Management (MDM) server, as well as the firmware of the meter itself. The local conditions can certainly impact the business model.

The Navy awarded a Multiple Award Construction Contract (MACC) on 28 September 2008 to Square D, Weston Solutions, and American Systems. Under the construct of this contracting vehicle, each of the three contractors propose a firm fixed price to design-build an AMI network for a Navy region or installation. The best value proposal, considering price and technical benefits, is awarded the contract.

The first AMI project was awarded to Square D on 28 September 2008 to install 280 advanced meters at Naval Base Ventura County (Point Mugu NAS, Port Hueneme CBC, and San Nicholas Island). The solution uses an approximately 98% wireless 2.4 GHz communication backbone, ION 8600 advanced electrical meters, and the ION Enterprise DAS (Figure 1). This project is approximately 60% complete with a projected completion/operational date of February 2010.

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Figure 2 – US Navy’s AMI rollout

The next AMI project was awarded to Square D on 14 July to install 2,300 advanced meters in the Northwest Region. This region is in the greater Seattle area and covers three primary geographic sites: Naval Base Kitsap, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, and Naval Station Everett. The solution will be the same as the Pilot, with the exception of the DAS being the current Itron MV90-xi DAS.

On 21 August an AMI project was awarded to American Systems to install 3,100 advanced meters in the Southwest Region. This region includes California and Nevada. The network solution will employ a Siemens 8600 advanced electric meter and use the Siemens WinPM.Net as the DAS.

On 15 September an AMI Project for the Southeast was awarded to Square D to install 3,526 advanced meters. This region includes Florida, Mississippi, Texas, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. On 17 September another project for Naval District Washington was awarded to Weston for 1,290 meters. Most recently an AMI project for Pacific Missile Range Facility, Barking Sands, Kauai was awarded to Square D for 99 advanced meters.

The Navy’s strategy and progress to date has led the way as an example of how AMI can be leveraged on a global basis. Although the Navy’s solution does not compare to a utility’s solution in terms of number of installed meters or investment, it does have its unique challenges:

  • Global solution
  • Various, country specific, frequency restrictions
  • All advanced meters are commercial and industrial (C&I)
  • Multiple commodities (electrical, gas, steam, and water)
  • Over 100 utility providers providing the commodities.

The way ahead has the Navy complying with the legislative requirements by 2013 (Figure 2). By that date there should be about 20,000 advanced meters across the Navy’s 40,000 facilities throughout 120 Navy and Marine Corps installations worldwide. This corporate, global AMI network will become the foundation and key enabler for the Navy’s smart grid implementation.

The views expressed and presented in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of the Navy, Department of Defense nor the U.S. Government.