To ensure continuous visibility, utility providers need reliable communications to deliver effective operational intelligence. Gridco Systems selected MultiTech rCell 100 series radios to meet its key criteria of form factor, operational temperature, usability and overall cost effectiveness and is now utilising MultiTech radios for effective distribution grid management.
The energy landscape is undergoing a fundamental shift. In the US, current electric grid infrastructure was designed more than 100 years ago to support predictable, unidirectional power flows from large centralised generation facilities to millions of geographically dispersed customers. However, this century-old design must now accommodate bi-directional power flows from distributed and variable renewable generation resources and increased variances in supply and demand – phenomena that were simply not anticipated when the grid was originally developed.
The combination of the increasing frequency of extreme weather events, greater regulatory focus on energy efficiency, higher cost of peak demand capacity, and mounting customer demand for better quality, cleaner and more affordable power has created unprecedented challenges to maintaining a robust, reliable power delivery system.
Traditional business-as-usual grid reinforcement techniques, such as reconductoring or replacing transformers, are simply not costeffective nor do they give electricity utilities the awareness, intelligence and agility needed to respond to dynamic system changes. Traditional primary side control solutions are not always effective, lacking the responsiveness and ability to target specific feeder locations without impacting a large branch or the entire feeder itself. It is clear that different solutions are necessary to meet electric utility needs for the next 100 years.
Through its family of power regulation products, Gridco Systems provides the foundation for greater visibility and control of power out to the low voltage (LV) edge of the grid. The company’s mission is to help distribution utilities solve problems close to the end customer, facilitating systemic benefits that include meeting aggressive renewable portfolio standards, increasing energy efficiency, reducing peak demand and improving overall power quality.
The Gridco Systems emPower solution includes end-to-end hardware based on modular power electronics and advanced software for dynamic control and enhanced visibility throughout the grid. To ensure continuous visibility, utility providers need reliable communications to deliver effective operational intelligence. Because of this, Gridco Systems set out to qualify communication options through a combination of key criteria including size, operational temperature, usability and overall cost effectiveness. Achieving an optimal combination of these criteria became the overall determining factor in Gridco’s choice to utilise the MultiTech rCell 100 series radio and the QuickCarrier USB-E.
MultiTech has a large product portfolio to choose from, along with the company’s long standing reputation of providing rugged and reliable hardware. MultiTech’s QuickCarrier USB came as a certified end-device purpose-built electric utility applications. MultiTech’s extensive hardware options meant that the relationship grew even deeper when Gridco selected its rCell product for communication with Gridco’s In-line Power Regulator (IPR) and the static volt ampere reactive (VAR) compensator (SVC) devices.
“Cost was definitely a driver and MultiTech provided the cost effective option that carried over in pricing to our customers,” said Vince Martinelli, the vice president of product management at Gridco Systems. “MultiTech’s embedded radio provided us the ability to offer multiple radios in one device, giving utilities the operational flexibility of leveraging different communication networks. Using Telit as Multitech’s main choice of cellular modems also greatly benefits Gridco Systems in offering robust, secure communications solutions for its customers.”
In the future, Gridco Systems is eager to forge strategic relationships with suppliers, like MultiTech, that provide great value and benefits for its customers. Being able to meet stringent, utility-grade standards for quality, reliability and safety is the top priority.