Avista Corp. has selected Tropos Networks and Itron's jointly developed smart grid solution as part of the $38 million Smart Grid Demonstration Project in the city of Pullman, Washington, U.S., and the nearby community of Albion.

The goal of the project is to use smart technologies to automate part of the energy distribution system to increase system reliability and reduce outage time, incorporate renewable energy sources, and provide customers with more tools and information to monitor their energy usage.

To meet the project goals, Avista is deploying advanced metering infrastructure, smart grid communications and distribution automation (DA) devices. Installation of Itron OpenWay meters for Avista's 13,000 electric and 5,000 gas customers that are included as part of the project was completed in May. The meters will provide detailed energy-usage data, outage detection and voltage monitoring. Additionally, Itron's meter data management solution will provide software analytics to optimize distribution system reliability and efficiency in the area.

For smart grid communications, Itron's OpenWay Integrated Cell Router and OpenWay 7320 wireless broadband router, both of which incorporate Tropos' wireless broadband technology, will be used. The network will connect smart meters and DA devices, providing a cost-effective, reliable and high-performance communications foundation that will simplify deployment and operations. The Tropos-based GridCom wireless broadband network infrastructure has the performance, reliability and security to support these initial smart grid applications and others as they are added in the future. Management for the integrated wireless broadband networks is provided by Itron OpenWay Control, which is based on Tropos Control, and provides visibility, configuration management, performance monitoring and network fault monitoring.

The project will also extend real-time communications to DA devices providing centralized monitoring and control, enabling Avista to take quick action to avoid or minimize power outages, as well as to determine which DA devices require maintenance or replacement. The DA portion of the project encompasses 13 distribution feeders and includes 45 reclosers, 20 capacitor banks and 800 transformers that will use the Tropos GridCom wireless broadband network for communications.

The Pullman Smart Grid Demonstration Project is part of the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project, led by Battelle, to expand existing electric infrastructure and demonstrate smart grid technologies using matching stimulus monies from the U.S. Department of Energy. Avista is leading the five-year Pullman Smart Grid Demonstration Project, and will contribute $14.9 million with its local partners contributing an additional $4 million.

To learn more, visit www.tropos.com or www.itron.com.