Actility to power LoRaWAN network roll-out for smart grids with Powerco

Sourmack Darbouy of Actility

Actility is set to deploy a large-scale LoRaWAN network in order to improve the monitoring of New Zealand’s electricity distribution network.

Smart Grid sensors will be installed in order to detect in real-time all malfunctions that may occur on various sections of the grid and therefore to ensure the power network is safe, secure and resilient.

Actility has partnered with local utility company Powerco, which will connect smart sensors and manage its LoRaWAN network on its fully secured private instance of ThingPark Enterprise IoT platform.

LoRaWAN open standard connectivity technology is a proven provider for smart utility applications, delivering solutions that are easy to scale, optimising operational cost and reducing utility waste. It allows utility companies to leverage its extremely long-range and low-power capabilities to cover thousands of kilometres of its electricity network at low cost, especially in remote areas which are challenging to reach, and to install LoRaWAN devices providing data in real time, while lasting for years on one battery charge.

The sensors, connected through LoRaWAN, will provide fault, performance and metering information, allowing to more easily detect and locate power outages, identify underperforming assets, and understand power demand. It also means sending field crews to remote locations for routine checks on equipment will no longer be necessary.

Serving urban and rural households, businesses and major industrial and commercial sites around the North Island of New Zealand, the Powerco grid represents 28,000 kilometres of overhead lines and underground cables, some of which are located in remote or challenging terrain.

Starting in June 2021, 200 gateways will be installed around the network over 24 months and LoRaWAN-connected sensors placed on electricity assets such as power poles, lines and transformers. Each gateway can monitor hundreds of sensors, creating a comprehensive picture of the network.

Ian Skipworth

Ian Skipworth, general manager service delivery and systems operations says the technology will improve the safety, reliability and efficiency of the network for customers. “LoRaWAN will give us much more granular information about our network than we currently have. Our team will be able to see what’s happening pole-by-pole in real-time. That means we can respond quickly to what’s happening now, and plan more effectively for the future” says Ian Skipworth, general manager service delivery and systems operations at Powerco.

“LoRaWAN gives the opportunity to utilities to create smart IoT applications that are flexible, scalable, easy to use, while simplifying integration and deployment. For Powerco, reducing operational expenses and creating new efficiencies can now be achieved without heavy investment. It will provide a basis for other innovations to come” says Sourmack Darbouy, regional sales director at Actility.

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