Allegheny Power (Pennsylvania) is using August Systems technology for an electricity grid modernization project. The project will enable a portion of Allegheny Power's electricity distribution system in the Morgantown, West Virginia, service area to be "self-healing," that is, to automatically detect, analyze and respond to problems and restore electricity service.

"This deployment breaks new ground in the electric utility industry," said Dave Flitman, president of Allegheny Power, the electric delivery business of Allegheny Energy. "Using innovative technologies from Augusta Systems and others, the project features a unique solution for an existing problem that impacts electricity system reliability. Since this project deals with real operating conditions that are very common across the U.S., it can serve as a model for the next generation of electricity delivery throughout the country. The technologies to be deployed in this project will also help set the stage for other energy conservation initiatives we are pursuing as part of our recently announced Watt Watchers program. Watt Watchers educates consumers about energy conservation and includes a number of new energy conservation initiatives."

The project will feature an autonomous, self-healing system consisting of reclosers and switches, an intelligent wireless communications network infrastructure, state-of-the-art sensors and system automation software. The system will be installed on two 12.5 kV electricity distribution feeders. The system will dynamically collect data from the feeders and, in case of a problem or "fault," as it is called, will isolate the fault and restore some or all electricity service from adjacent feeders in real-time without manual intervention from system operators.

Augusta Systems' SensorBridge and SensorPort will be deployed as the key components of the system's intelligent wireless communications network and control infrastructure, capable of supporting distributed, intelligent automation. SensorBridge is a suite of Microsoft Visual Studio software components for building and managing intelligent networks, systems and applications -- featuring data from edge assets -- within an integrated development environment. SensorPort is a reconfigurable network appliance for distributed, intelligent processing at the edge of the network.

SensorPort appliances will be deployed throughout the distribution system, as part of a WiFi mesh network backbone, to provide the necessary communications and computational capacity to support distributed intelligence and the plug-and-play environment. SensorPort provides a flexible, sensor- agnostic, protocol agnostic network gateway that powers the extension of the IT and IP networks to the level of sensors and devices. SensorBridge-produced software code deployed on SensorPort will enable sensor, actuators and device data integration and correlation.

The technologies will essentially create an open, scalable, intelligent IT infrastructure that is uninterrupted from the field to the utility's operations center to the end user -- an infrastructure that can automatically maintain electricity reliability, security, affordability, quality and efficiency.