Smart Grid

Alstom has won a contract from PPL Electric Utilities to provide its integrated distribution management system (IDMS) to power a smart grid project to enhance system reliability in the Harrisburg area, Pennsylvania.

Under the contract, which is part of PPL’s $38m smart grid project, Alstom will deliver its technology, known as e-terradistribution 3.0, which integrates supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) software and advanced distribution management system (DMS) in one integrated IDMS.

e-terradistribution, which is built on a single system model and is operated in a single viewing environment from a single user login, responds to the customers’ needs for grid optimisation, outage time reduction, situational awareness and asset utilisation and optimisation, Alstom claims.

The company also claims that the technology enables crew management and safety, smart meter integration, distributed resources integration, electric vehicles integration and demand response integration.

Alstom has developed the single platform software architecture, which can handle large volumes of data, specifically for three-phase unbalanced distribution networks that will help PPL make informed decisions concerning both everyday operations and outages from severe weather events.

"The smart grid project will enable the company to react instantaneously to changes ranging from a subtle voltage drop to a power outage."

Additionally, these features enable PPL to access a suite of ‘smart’ applications to monitor and control electricity distribution and transmission networks from one point in its control room that would maximise reliability across the entire network.

Backed by a $19m grant from the US Department of Energy, the three-year PPL project calls for the development of a high-speed communications network, a centralised computer system called the DMS and sophisticated software.

The smart grid project will enable the company to react instantaneously to changes ranging from a subtle voltage drop to a power outage.

Alstom Grid Network Management Solutions vice-president Karim Naggar said the company is seeing a growing focus on smart grid technology, including distribution infrastructure, to improve reliability, integrate clean renewable energy resources and respond faster to widespread outages.

"PPL Electric Utilities is already making effective use of our standard deployment methodology including the capabilities, tools and processes to support a streamlined, on-time delivery," said Naggar.

Image: Alstom Smart Grid Solutions. Photo: courtesy of Alstom.