Kyocera Wireless Corp. and M2M Communications have announced the successful deployment of a sophisticated direct load-control program custom engineered for Rocky Mountain Power’s demand-side management project. M2M Communications integrated a NetSwitch load-control solution and the dual-mode Kyocera 200 Module along with its custom-designed Web-to-wireless control system to enable a versatile and secure method to remotely monitor and control energy usage at irrigation pump sites. Over the next 18 months, 4000 of these custom-designed load control units will be installed in southeast Idaho, allowing Rocky Mountain Power to shift enough energy from irrigation pumps to power approximately 8000 homes during the summer months.

“There is a renewed global focus on energy conservation and the environment. Utility demand-side management projects powered by wireless M2M technology benefit not only the companies implementing the technology but the environment as well,” said Dean Fledderjohn, general manager of M2M at Kyocera Wireless Corp. “This collaborative, custom-built solution leverages the dual-mode capability and power of the Kyocera 200 module for a remote monitoring and energy asset control system that makes the most of existing utility power supplies without requiring additional energy generation or pollution.”

During the summer months, as much as one-third of the total power consumption in rural areas is devoted to irrigation pumps and systems. Direct load control programs give utility companies the ability to reschedule the power consumption for various types of equipment at participating customer sites during times of peak energy demand. With the new custom-designed load control units in place, utility companies can monitor power usage remotely as it is being consumed and determine in real-time if the available power supply is being optimized. If not, utility technicians can use the system’s two-way Web-to-wireless control system to shift power to other areas. The system’s versatile controls also provide automated, time-scheduled monitoring and load management, which results in decreased technician time spent on monitoring. As a result of the program, farmers receive credits for unused power while Rocky Mountain Power increases workforce efficiency and reduces overall costs. In addition, the system eliminates the need to purchase expensive peak-load power from other utility companies and can even reduce the need to build additional expensive power plants.

During a trial period with 25 units in summer 2006, the customized NetSwitch solution proved the best fit for the pilot project because of its low cost and reliable two-way wireless capabilities across both analog and digital environments.

“Many rural areas are still in the process of updating wireless networks from analog to digital technology and we needed a wireless technology partner that could offer a forward- and backward-compatible solution,” said Steve Hodges, president of M2M Communications. “The Kyocera 200 Module fit the bill not only because it works in both environments and eliminates the need for costly future upgrades, but also because it is a field proven solution with outstanding integration tools and engineering support.”

In 2007, Rocky Mountain Power installed the first 1,000 units at irrigation sites throughout southeast Idaho. It plans to install another 1,500 by June 2008 and an additional 1,500 by June 2009.