DTE Energy Orders More Technology for SmartCurrents Program

May 18, 2011
DTE Energy, energy provider to 2.1 million electric customers in Southeastern Michigan, has selected solutions for its $168 million SmartCurrents program.

DTE Energy, energy provider to 2.1 million electric customers in Southeastern Michigan, has selected solutions for its $168 million SmartCurrents program. SmartCurrents is DTE Energy’s first smart grid program and is targeted at modernizing the electric grid, improving distribution system reliability and efficiency, as well as empowering electric customers with more information about their power usage.

Phase one of the SmartCurrents program spans more than 500 square miles and includes the installation of approximately 800,000 Itron OpenWay meters; installation of nearly 300,000 OpenWay meters has already taken place at DTE Energy. In addition to the meters and endpoints, the communications architecture for the SmartCurrents program includes Itron’s OpenWay Integrated Cell Router, which features Tropos wireless communications technology, and Tropos Mesh Routers. The Integrated Cell Routers will provide wireless mesh communications with smart meters, as well as data backhaul to the utility’s core network. Tropos Mesh Routers will provide communications for advanced distribution applications, such as distribution automation and voltage optimization.

“We selected the Tropos mesh as we expect it to provide greater reliability, plus it has the capacity and security to support AMI backhaul, distribution automation, mobile workforce automation and other smart grid applications,” said Brian Moccia, Major Enterprise Projects/AMI Technology Manager, DTE Energy.

The OpenWay Integrated Cell Router will be used across the entire 500 square mile coverage area. This solution combines Itron’s OpenWay Cell Relay (900 MHz mesh technology) and Tropos’ Mesh Router (2.4/5.8 GHz mesh technology) in a single device that provides a smart grid communications foundation, blending OpenWay and Tropos’ GridCom architecture. Network management of the Itron and Tropos mesh technologies will be unified via Itron OpenWay Control based on Tropos Control technology, simplifying operations and providing visibility across the wireless networks, aggregating configuration, performance and network fault monitoring.

The SmartCurrents project also includes rollout of DA applications and involves upgrades to 11 substations and 55 distribution circuits. Tropos Mesh Routers will be used to connect more than 180 DA devices, such as switches and reclosers, to the smart grid, providing the required high performance, low latency and secure communications required. DTE Energy’s distribution automation goals include reduction of outage time, better management of distribution power flow and peak power.

The SmartCurrents project is a $168 million project being funded through an $84 million U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Smart Grid Investment Grant with matching funds from DTE Energy. The grant is part of a nationwide effort underway to improve the nation’s electrical grid; the match in funding is helping DTE Energy to accelerate its smart grid technology deployment.

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