Hydropower, Monitoring, Solar

Small Renewable Generators Get Low-Cost Connection

The operator of the power grid for the U.S. mid-Atlantic region, Interconnection LLC, and Comverge Technologies, a data communications company, will provide small energy producers with a low-cost wireless connection to PJM’s information systems.

VALLEY FORGE, Pennsylvania, US, 2001-09-19 [SolarAccess.com] The two companies have formed a partnership to create systems to allow direct communication of metered information from small energy producers (100 kW to 10 MW) using wireless cellular technology. Windfarms, solar energy and small hydro facilities were not able to participate fully in PJM’s markets because of the capital equipment costs and investment in communications infrastructure. In addition to the lower costs, the two companies claim that small energy producers will benefit from the ‘instant-on’ capabilities of the wireless communications network that allows for rapid deployment of new customer connections and offers more choices to market participants. “This program will allow for greater participation in the mid-Atlantic region’s energy market,” says PJM president and CEO Phillip Harris. His counterpoint at Comverge, Frank Magnotti, says “PJM’s commitment to increasing reliability and advancing technical solutions … for distributed generation monitoring and dispatch, is critical to advances in the changing energy marketplace.” The technology consists of interfacing the customers’ revenue meter at the customers’ site with the CDD device, then communicating by cellular network and secure Internet into the master supervisory control and data acquisition system at PJM. User benefits include non-proprietary hardware and software interfaces, industry standard protocols, economic equipment and communications costs, multiple suppliers for customer equipment, rapid deployment and a modular approach. The technology allows PJM to communicate with external customers and combine the acquisition of real time and revenue information into one system. PJM is the only fully functioning regional transmission organization in the United States, which operates one of the world’s largest competitive wholesale electricity market and one of North America’s largest power grids. It coordinates a pooled generating capacity of 58,000 MW and operates a wholesale market with 200 buyers, sellers and traders of electricity. PJM has administered US$5 billion in energy trades since regional markets opened in 1997.