Breakthrough Customer Results in Grid Modernization

Posted by on November 10, 2014

As October came to a close, many leading Silver Spring customers and partners gathered in Chicago at the Grid Management/ Distribution Automation (DA) Connections event to share stories of recent breakthroughs in grid modernization. The full day forum, hosted in conjunction with sponsoring utility ComEd, featured a full range of presentations and discussion sessions on topics ranging from grid reliability initiatives to grid asset monitoring programs. Presentations and discussion sessions consisted of customer-led reviews of approaches to get the most out of Silver Spring solutions and deliver operational results from distribution automation.

Outlined below are some of the highlights from the sessions:

  • ComEd kicked off with an overview of its grid reliability programs with a thorough discussion of how the DA team has leveraged the Silver Spring network to control reclosers from device partners including S&C Electric Company, G&W Electric and Eaton/Cooper. The low latency, peer-to-peer communications and overall reliability of the Silver Spring network has enabled ComEd to achieve dramatic improvement in SAIFI metrics and bring grid modernization rapidly to the greater Chicago area.
  • Silver Spring grid management/DA operations and subject matter experts Tom Luecke and Mel Gehrs then led the group through a discussion of the integration of DA and AMI networks, applications and data.
  • Florida Power & Light (FPL) shared information around its “Energy Smart Florida” initiative with detailed discussion of the use of line sensors for fault monitoring. The deployment forms a key element of the FPL grid modernization initiative that now connects more than 10,000 intelligent devices on the grid over the Silver Spring network.
  • ComEd delivered the keynote session for the Connections event. Attendees heard a personal account of the ComEd smart grid journey, led by grid modernization initiatives and followed by large-scale smart meter deployments. ComEd also shared further insights around the regulatory conditions in Illinois and the direct relationship between grid reliability metrics and utility revenue.
  • Pepco discussed views on DA, the Silver Spring network and the impact of grid reliability in the greater Washington, D.C. and Maryland area. Topics included grid asset monitoring and feeder automation via automatic circuit reclosers enabled by Silver Spring DA communications. Results included more than 7.5M customer minutes of interruption (CMI) saved year to date in 2014.
  • Silver Spring’s Mel Gehrs highlighted new developments in network technology and distributed computing at the network edge (using the CPU and memory resident within communications modules embedded in grid devices and meters). Technology demos included examples of developing executable scripts to support peer-to-peer control applications for grid reliability.
  • The Grid Management/DA Connections event concluded with ComEd sharing the techniques used by its team to manage more than 5,000 grid devices throughout the greater Chicago region, as well as the methods enabling deployment to grow at the rate of six new devices provisioned every day throughout 2014. The aggressive deployment and management methodology has enabled a systematic transition from the legacy L+G Utilinet DA network to Silver Spring, resulting in increased network performance, reliability and consistent improvement in SAIFI and CAIDI metrics.

Throughout the day customers were able to speak candidly about their experiences and learn from each other.  While the perspective of each customer and the details of their grid modernization journey contained unique facets, common denominators of customers’ Silver Spring Grid Management/DA deployments uniformly included high reliability performance, durable multi-layer security and increased operational efficiency.

We are looking forward to continuing these discussions at the annual Silver Spring Connections event at the Distributech conference in February 2015. In the meantime, learn more about Silver Spring’s grid management/DA solution here.

John Reno is the Gridside Management Product Marketing Manager for Silver Spring Networks