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Smart grid investment is a wise choice for all

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Thursday, December 06, 2012

The Guam Power Authority (GPA) was awarded a $16.7 million smart grid grant from the U.S. Department of Energy in 2009, and since that time, GPA issued bonds for its 50 percent funding match, to which more than 400 U.S. utilities applied. This, along with several other smaller DOE grants, has helped Guam pick up the pace with its smart grid deployments.

According to the Pacific Daily News, Guam's smart grid program in now fully underway, and as of October 1, the first systems and smart grid technologies were put in place. These include substation automation, distribution automation, meter data management, e-portal, outage management and a number of other systems. The Public Utilities Commission consultants and the Georgetown Consulting Group say that Guam's smart grid roll out could equate to savings of $338 million over the course of 15 years.

The country and its utilities will see countless benefits by implementing smart grid technologies, and will allow GPA to remotely monitor smart grid intelligent electronic devices (IEDs). GPA will also see substantial savings due to fewer system line losses.

Currently, GPA performs as many as 800 truck rolls and about 4,500 work orders to fix broken and problematic lines every month. This is a huge number, and requires a large workforce, leading to higher costs and longer response times. However, with the smart grid, GPA will be able to connect and reconnect these lines remotely, saving prices on gas, labor and vehicles, and these savings could in turn be passed on to ratepayers.

The new developments will also give GPA high-quality, real-time operational and financial data that will help it make better decisions regarding grid control. What used to be tedious, manual processes that had higher error rates will now become faster, more efficient and less costly through automation software. By installing smart grid capabilities, GPA will see improvement in every facet of its business, the media outlet stated.

The entire smart grid project encompasses the whole territory. Additional technologies that will be installed include new circuit switches, capacitors, voltage regulators, fault indicators, smart relays and equipment sensors.

SUBNET specializes in helping utilities install substation automation and other smart grid technologies, and has developed software that allows power companies to retrieve data from any IED across any communication platform. 

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