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T&D World Magazine

Crow Wing Power’s Wireless Initiative Delivers Smart Grid Benefits, Improved Customer Service

Crow Wing Power, Brainerd, Minnesota, recently reached the one-year mark in a project implementing a 700MHz licensed wireless broadband communications network from Arcadian Networks. The Crow Wing Power electric cooperative, which serves 36,000 members in rural north central Minnesota, has deployed substation communications over the Arcadian Network to support delivery of substation automation communication, advanced metering, and energy efficiency programs.

In August 2007, Crow Wing Power was looking to expand on its two-way advanced metering programs while updating communications with its rural substations. Challenges included a tight project timeline and the logistical obstacles posed by harsh winter weather conditions in northern Minnesota.

"We needed a secure and reliable network to support distribution substation system communications and, after considering and comparing alternatives such as a microwave system, we concluded that Arcadian networks could best meet our needs across our widely dispersed service territory," said Crow Wing IT Manager Todd O’Hotto.

Crow Wing’s power supplier, Great River Energy, told it about the Arcadian broadband communications solution recently put in place by other Great River Energy members, including Connexus, Todd-Walena, and Agralite Electric. "

When we realized how easy it could be for us to just plug into the Arcadian network connection ports and get up and running, we knew we’d found a winning solution," said O’Hotto.

Beginning in October 2007, Crow Wing began connecting to the Arcadian licensed broadband network for two way wireless data communication with 25 substations, supplying around 55,000 customer members. Most substations were up and running by June 2008.

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