T&D World Magazine

Burbank Water and Power Selects Wireless Mesh Network for Smart Grid

Tropos Networks was selected by Burbank Water and Power as a key element in its smart grid network of networks. To improve service and empower its 51,000 electricity customers to use energy wisely, BWP is implementing comprehensive smart grid systems across the utility’s entire coverage area. Tropos’ GridCom architecture will be used as the high performance wireless distribution area network, providing secure connectivity for multiple utility smart grid applications. Key goals of the initiative include enabling customer energy efficiency and demand response, improving operational efficiencies, reducing CO2 emissions, supporting plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), and integrating renewable energy sources to meet California’s mandate of 33 percent renewable power by 2020.

BWP’s smart grid investment is estimated at $62M with rollout planned over the next three years. The program is funded by BWP and a $20 million U.S. Department of Energy Smart Grid Investment Grant. BWP has recently completed its smart grid proof of concept phase that includes 900 AMI meters, portions of the Tropos GridCom network, a meter data management system (MDMS) and an outage management system (OMS). Following the successful Tropos and AMI proof of concept, BWP is proceeding with deployment of the citywide Tropos wireless network, which is integrated with an extensive existing fiber optic network. When completed, the Tropos network will provide communications for utility electric and water AMI, distribution automation, customer energy demand response, distributed generation and mobile data to the BWP field workforce. In addition, BWP expects to make the network available to other city departments, including potentially police, fire, and traffic.

Upcoming smart grid program phases include full AMI deployment to all customers, distribution automation, demand response, thermal energy storage systems at select customer sites, and new control systems. Several retail services are planned that use the smart grid to enable energy efficiency, demand management and other programs that will give customers greater information and control over energy usage. BWP does not expect to raise rates to fund the program; instead, it will cover costs with the SGIG, cost reductions related to operational efficiency improvements, and selling services using excess capacity on its communication systems.

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