T&D World Magazine

Fort Collins Utility Selects Communications Infrastructure for AMI

The City of Fort Collins Utilities has selected a communications infrastructure for its Advanced Meter Project AMI data backhaul and future aggregation of smart grid applications across the utilities’ service territory.

“A crucial element in our Advanced Meter Project is a highly reliable broadband communications infrastructure,” said Steve Catanach, Light and Power Manager for Fort Collins Utilities. “The Tropos GridCom network has the resilience, capacity and security that will enable us to leverage it for a wide range of Smart Grid applications.”

Fort Collins Utilities plans to migrate all its customers to AMI over the next two years by installing Elster EnergyAxis electric meters. For communications, Elster’s EnergyAxis Gatekeeper will be used as the metering LAN to connect smart power meters. Tropos’ GridCom will extend across Fort Collins Utilities’ service territory, providing wireless broadband backhaul from the metering LAN to the utilities’ existing fiber network.

In addition to using the Tropos network for AMI, Fort Collins Utilities plans to leverage it in the future for other new power utility applications. Example applications may include mobile workforce applications, energy conservation, demand reduction, integration of renewable and conventional distributed generation (DG), and transition from traditional gasoline powered vehicles to Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) and electric vehicles (EV). The ability to monitor loads and reconfigure the system in response to changing demand is critical to enable the integration of growing DG and PHEV use.

The network will also enable Fort Collins Utilities to provide feedback regarding energy and water use to customers, providing customers an opportunity to take a more active role in conservation. Additionally, the network has the ability to support communications for mobile workforce applications for other city departments as well as other smart city applications such as traffic signal control.

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