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General Electric Company : GE Helps ELMAR Modernize Aruba’s National Electrical Grid

11/13/2013 | 11:15am EST

ATLANTA-November 13, 2013-To create a modernized electrical network and equip Aruba with secure, high-capacity and long-range wireless coverage for its complete network, ELMAR-the country's power utility company-has turned to GE's RF Grid IQTM point-to-multipoint (P2MP) advanced metering infrastructure (AMI). The installation of GE's AMI solutions will create an all-encompassing wireless metering network, providing ELMAR with crucial electrical usage and power generation data to improve grid efficiency and functionality, while also enabling the integration of renewable energy sources into the grid.

"Part of Aruba's energy plan for the future is to generate more renewable energy and implement it into its electrical grid, with the long-term goal of becoming a 100 percent 'green' country," said Robert Henriquez, director of ELMAR. "GE's Grid IQ P2MP AMI solution provides utilities with important information such as how much power is generated by a country's wind farms and solar power facilities and when the majority of this power is being generated, helping them to better understand their electrical grid and what can be done to optimize it."

Modernizing the Grid

With the RF Grid IQ AMI solution, GE introduces its first AMI product offering specifically designed for global smart meters applications. The wireless AMI network rolled out in Aruba will encompass 170 P2MP meters interconnected via seven access points, each of which is capable of communicating with up to 20,000 smart meters and 64,000 distribution automation devices within a 40-mile radius-approximately 1,980 square miles. Aruba's seven new access points enable the island's entire installed smart meter base-48,000 to date-to efficiently and effectively communicate crucial data back to ELMAR to be analyzed. This infrastructure also will allow for network expansion by as many as 140,000 meters and 448,000 distribution automation devices in the future without the need for any additional investment. For the first six months of the operation, ELMAR will be able to access and utilize GE-hosted monitoring software to help maintain its new wireless AMI network.

By providing thousands of square miles of ubiquitous coverage with minimal network infrastructure, GE's Grid IQ P2MP wireless connectivity solution also will reduce deployment and operational costs. Its gradual scalability enables a utilities network to be rolled out over an extended timeframe, while continuing to provide full connectivity every step of the way. The Grid IQ P2MP AMI, GE's first smart metering solution to receive ecomagination qualification, creates a single network that can service applications including electric AMI systems and battery-operated distribution monitoring-such as fault circuit indicators and transformer monitors. In addition, the solution provides advanced visualization and analytics through its state-of-the-art head-end system.

"The network created by our Grid IQ P2MP is more than just an AMI solution, it is built to support various grid modernization applications beyond smart metering," said Ricardo Van Erven, general manager, Latin America, GE's Digital Energy business. "In addition to smart meters, the Grid IQ AMI P2MP can monitor distribution-sensing applications, such as transformers, fault circuit indicators and other grid assets, under its unified network. This can greatly accelerate the return on investment for a utility as well as improve grid reliability and outage prevention."

The Technology behind It

The cost-effective Grid IQ P2MP AMI solution operates on a global RF license-free frequency. This technology, utilized and proven by cell phone carriers, provides low-bandwidth utilities with a wide-ranged, highly reliable AMI solution. Its ability to monitor a variety of AMI infrastructure on one network reduces costs associated with installing additional infrastructure and performing routine maintenance on the additional applications and networks that would otherwise be required.

Similar to a cellular network, The Grid IQ P2MP AMI uses a star topology to provide an umbrella of coverage once access points are deployed. After access points have been set up, meters can be deployed as the utility sees fit, whether it be all at once or gradually. Each deployed meter will have the full benefits of GE's AMI solution available immediately upon joining the network. This is markedly different from other installations where the communication solution does not work until a critical density of meters has been deployed. Consequently, with the Grid IQ AMI P2MP solution, meters that are reaching the end of life can be gradually switched to AMI solutions over time.

GE's Grid IQ P2MP AMI solution integrates radio technology developed by OnRamp Wireless, a strategic partner of GE, into its ANSI and IEC metering products. The combination of these two technologies has created a breakthrough in the coverage and capacities of today's AMI and smart grid communication systems. GE's P2MP solution provides an efficient AMI complement to other GE grid solutions such as its PowerOnTM Restore outage management systems, PowerOn Precision demand response technology and its SmallworldTM geospatial information systems.

GE's Digital Energy business is a global leader in transmission and distribution solutions that manage and move power from the power plant to the consumer. Its products and services increase the reliability of electrical power networks and critical equipment for utility, industrial and large commercial customers. From protecting and optimizing assets such as generators, transmission lines and motors, to delivering analytic tools to help manage the power grid, and providing uninterruptible power, GE's Digital Energy business delivers industry-leading technologies to solve the unique challenges of each customer. For more information, visit http://www.gedigitalenergy.com/.

About GE

GE (NYSE: GE) works on things that matter. The best people and the best technologies taking on the toughest challenges. Finding solutions in energy, health and home, transportation and finance. Building, powering, moving and curing the world. Not just imagining. Doing. GE works. For more information, visit the company's website at www.ge.com.

Follow GE Energy Management and its Digital Energy business on Twitter @GE_EnergyMgmt and @YourSmartGrid.

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