Fort Collins Utilities Taps Tropos Networks for Wireless Smart Grid Communications


Tropos® Networks recently announced that the City of Fort Collins Utilities, Colorado, has selected Tropos GridCom™ as the communications infrastructure for its Advanced Meter Project AMI data backhaul and future aggregation of smart grid applications across the utilities’ service territory.

“A crucial element in our Advanced Meter Project is a highly reliable broadband communications infrastructure,” said Steve Catanach, Light and Power manager for Fort Collins Utilities. “The Tropos GridCom network has the resilience, capacity and security that will enable us to leverage it for a wide range of Smart Grid applications.”

Fort Collins Utilities plans to migrate all its customers to AMI over the next two years by installing Elster EnergyAxis® electric and water meters. For communications, Elster’s EnergyAxis® Gatekeeper will be used as the metering LAN to connect smart power and water meters. Tropos’ GridCom will extend across Fort Collins Utilities’ service territory, providing wireless broadband backhaul from the metering LAN to the utilities’ existing fiber network.

In addition to using the Tropos network for AMI, Fort Collins Utilities plans to leverage it in the future for other new power and water utility applications. Example applications may include mobile workforce applications, energy conservation, demand reduction, integration of renewable and conventional distributed generation (DG), and transition from traditional gasoline powered vehicles to Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) and electric vehicles (EV). The ability to monitor loads and reconfigure the system in response to changing demand is critical to enable the integration of growing DG and PHEV use. Water utility applications may include leak detection and outage response. The network will also enable Fort Collins Utilities to provide feedback regarding energy and water use to customers, providing customers an opportunity to take a more active role in conservation. Additionally, the network has the ability to support communications for mobile workforce applications for other city departments as well as other smart city applications such as traffic signal control.

“Fort Collins Utilities is a great example of how a secure, scalable and reliable wireless communications system can enable many applications and provide tangible benefits to utilities and their customers, making utility operations more cost-effective and improving the service delivered to customers,” said Tom Ayers, president and chief executive officer, Tropos Networks. “We’re pleased to have been selected to help Fort Collins Utilities build its Advanced Meter Project, and we look forward to working with their team.”

Fort Collins is home to Colorado State University and an outstanding public school system. Nestled at the base of the Rocky Mountains, with an average of 300 days of sunshine every year, Fort Collins offers exciting recreational opportunities, unique cultural offerings, and is a regional center for employment and shopping. Fort Collins offers the convenience of a small town with all the amenities of a larger city. There is always something happening in this community. From music concerts and plays, to food and beer tasting extravaganzas, Fort Collins has it all.

The City of Fort Collins Utilities has been recognized for being an award winning utility in Environmental Excellence, Leadership and Achievements; Performance and Innovation, Vision, Leadership, Outstanding Community Support for Renewable Energy; and Reliable Electric Operations. The City of Fort Collins has also been ranked 6th out of the top 100 best places to live by Money Magazine. We continue to seek new opportunities to reduce our environmental impacts; adopt new technologies for increasing efficiency; explore ways to better engage our staff and community in action for sustainability. We are passionate about creating a vibrant, world-class community, and providing exceptional service for an exceptional community.

Source: Tropos Networks

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