Hydro One, the largest distributor of electricity in Ontario (Canada), is implementing a new smart grid project that will help transform the province's electrical system. Together with IBM and Telvent, the companies will run simulations and tests to determine the smart grid technologies that have the potential to improve power efficiency and reliability.

Installed in the 1950s, many components of Ontario's current electricity distribution system have reached the end of their service life. More recently, technological advancements, provincial governmental policy, market forces and increased environmental awareness have added pressure to the demands on Ontario's electricity distribution system.

"As equipment on our distribution system ages, it needs to be replaced. This creates an opportunity to create a world-class network with new, intelligent and sophisticated technologies to meet the changing needs of our customers," Rick Stevens, vice president, Asset Management, Hydro One. "Our collaboration with IBM and Telvent will help Hydro One assess the next generation of distribution equipment and make the right choices for our customers looking for more reliable electricity, particularly in rural areas."

The Advanced Distribution System (ADS) project will help the utility identify and assess equipment, test new delivery models for electricity, validate the costs and benefits anticipated with a new smart grid and recommend changes to cost effectively modernize Ontario's distribution system.

The project intends to enable an increased amount of distributed generation into the grid as well as help increase the reliability of the current distribution system and improve outage management during large scale situations. By taking advantage of the insights gained from new data sources based on analytics, Hydro One will be able to optimize energy utilization and management for greater efficiency while accommodating consumer demand.

As the overall system integrator, IBM will provide expertise in smart grid technologies, planning and implementation to oversee the reliability of the network solution. Hydro One will use the Advanced Distribution Management System (ADMS), from Telvent, a real-time solution that will provide complete functionality for planning, operation and analysis of its distribution system. This will allow Hydro One to more accurately manage and plan its grid investments.

The project is in line with the requirements of Ontario's Green Energy and Green Economy 2009 Act, which fosters the growth of renewable and cleaner sources of energy while promoting a greener economy.