T&D World Magazine

New Zealand Utility Implementing GE Smart Grid Tech

With goals of improving power reliability for consumers and adding more renewable energy, such as wind and solar to the grid, WEL Networks of Hamilton, New Zealand, is implementing GE smart grid technology.

GE’s outage management software will help WEL reduce outages and more quickly restore power when outages do occur. Eventually, this smart grid solution will work in conjunction with smart meters and advanced metering infrastructure to provide real-time knowledge of the grid’s status. This knowledge will enable both proactive actions to prevent outages and reactive actions—such as intelligent re-routing, pinpoint repair deployment and circuit restorations—to reduce customer impact and help extend the life of utility assets.

“Our smart grid distribution management system technology serves as the backbone on which WEL Networks will ultimately build its smarter grid,” said Bob Gilligan, vice president of GE Energy’s transmission and distribution business. “In addition to helping WEL integrate renewable energy resources, the DMS will also provide the utility with necessary information to improve grid reliability and power quality.”

This project supports the New Zealand government’s goal of carbon neutrality and generating 90 percent renewable electricity by 2025, from 70 percent today.

Traditionally, electricity has flowed one way, from a power station to the customer. As more renewable energy is generated by alternative sources, power will enter the network from multiple locations. GE’s DMS provides the utility with live information about the network to help manage the distribution of renewable energy.

WEL Networks is an electricity distribution company that owns, develops and maintains the electricity network of lines, cables, substations and associated infrastructure. Its network connects 82,000 customers to the national transmission and generation facilities and is the fifth largest electricity utility in New Zealand out of a total of 28 utilities.

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