T&D World Magazine

French Distributors Implementing Echelon's Smart Metering System

The Group of Electricity Distributors in France (GAELD), a consortium of electricity distributors, has chosen Echelon’s Networked Energy Services (NES) System for up to 90,000 homes. The project, awarded to Echelon partner Alter Way, is expected to begin within the next few months and to be completed by 2013. In the past two months the NES system has gained momentum across Europe, including projects in Germany, Denmark, and now France.

One of the utilities in the GAELD consortium, Régie d’électricité 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 vs. consumption are lost, making this the first instance of Echelon’s meter to be used in an alternative energy application in France.

Echelon’s NES 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.

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