To create a modernized electrical network and equip Aruba with secure, high-capacity and long-range wireless coverage for its complete network, ELMAR—the country’s power utility company—has turned to GE’s RF Grid IQ point-to-multipoint (P2MP) advanced metering infrastructure (AMI). The installation of GE’s AMI solutions will create an all-encompassing wireless metering network, providing ELMAR with crucial electrical usage and power generation data to improve grid efficiency and functionality, while also enabling the integration of renewable energy sources into the grid.
With the RF Grid IQ AMI solution, GE introduces its first AMI product offering specifically designed for global smart meters applications. The wireless AMI network rolled out in Aruba will encompass 170 P2MP meters interconnected via seven access points, each of which is capable of communicating with up to 20,000 smart meters and 64,000 distribution automation devices within a 40-mile radius—approximately 1,980 square miles. Aruba’s seven new access points enable the island’s entire installed smart meter base—48,000 to date—to efficiently and effectively communicate crucial data back to ELMAR to be analyzed. This infrastructure also will allow for network expansion by as many as 140,000 meters and 448,000 distribution automation devices in the future without the need for any additional investment. For the first six months of the operation, ELMAR will be able to access and utilize GE-hosted monitoring software to help maintain its new wireless AMI network.
By providing thousands of square miles of ubiquitous coverage with minimal network infrastructure, GE’s Grid IQ P2MP wireless connectivity solution also will reduce deployment and operational costs. Its gradual scalability enables a utilities network to be rolled out over an extended timeframe, while continuing to provide full connectivity every step of the way. The Grid IQ P2MP AMI, GE’s first smart metering solution to receive ecomagination qualification, creates a single network that can service applications including electric AMI systems and battery-operated distribution monitoring—such as fault circuit indicators and transformer monitors. In addition, the solution provides advanced visualization and analytics through its state-of-the-art head-end system.
The cost-effective Grid IQ P2MP AMI solution operates on a global RF license-free frequency. This technology, utilized and proven by cell phone carriers, provides low-bandwidth utilities with a wide-ranged, highly reliable AMI solution. Its ability to monitor a variety of AMI infrastructure on one network reduces costs associated with installing additional infrastructure and performing routine maintenance on the additional applications and networks that would otherwise be required.
Similar to a cellular network, The Grid IQ P2MP AMI uses a star topology to provide an umbrella of coverage once access points are deployed. After access points have been set up, meters can be deployed as the utility sees fit, whether it be all at once or gradually. Each deployed meter will have the full benefits of GE’s AMI solution available immediately upon joining the network. This is markedly different from other installations where the communication solution does not work until a critical density of meters has been deployed. Consequently, with the Grid IQ AMI P2MP solution, meters that are reaching the end of life can be gradually switched to AMI solutions over time.
GE’s Grid IQ P2MP AMI solution integrates radio technology developed by OnRamp Wireless, a partner of GE, into its ANSI and IEC metering products.