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US tech provider to work with Brazilian companies on advanced smart meter Amazon project

Parintins project will make city the first in Brazil to provide 100% of customers with smart meters

The smart grid project aims to help improve power distribution for people in the Amazon region of Brazil

A US firm is providing technology for an advanced smart meter project in Brazil. Echelon Corporation, a leading energy control networking solution provider in the US, is working with two Brazilian companies to develop the smart grid project which aims to improve people’s lives in the Amazon region. 

The Californian firm is working with Brazil’s meter manufacturer ELO Sistemas Eletrônicos, and electric utility Eletrobrás to complete the deployment of a 3,400 unit pilot called the Parintins City project. When complete, Parintins be Brazil’s first city to provide 100 per cent of its customers with smart meters installations.

ELO’s solution consists of a dual mode smart meter that communicates over power line or by radio frequency through Echelon’s exclusive Multipurpose Expansion Port (MEP) feature. Echelon is providing smart sensor and metering sub-systems to ELO, leveraging its proven energy control networking platform.

The project is part of an innovative plan aimed at improving the everyday lives of the customers served by Eletrobrás in the Amazon region. It follows work ELO announced in November 2012 to develop smart grid solutions in Brazil with firm US firm Ambient Solutions. 

The installed smart meters will act as sensors in the distribution network, allowing the detection and immediate intervention in the event of a power failure or line tampering. Eletrobrás will monitor the data from the smart meters, such as time consumption and cost per kWh at different times of day, and can change rates throughout the day, encouraging consumption during off-peak demand. By the end of 2013, ELO will deploy another 12,000 smart meters as part of this project.

Michael Anderson, senior vice president, Worldwide Markets, at Echelon, said: “We are excited to provide ELO with the solution that enables a grid modernisation path for Eletrobrás. Delivering safe, reliable energy is the main mission of the smart grid, and utilities like Eletrobrás with grid modernisation projects lead the way for other Brazilian cities and towns.”

The project is located in Parintins, a city on an island in an isolated portion of the grid, which will allow monitoring of system performance from generation to distribution and provide customers with status to this new technology. To integrate the entire area, meters with both power line and radio frequency communications were required to reach all customers.

Marcos Rizzo, vice president of Business Development of ELO, said: “Parintins will be the first Brazilian city with 100 per cent of the customers having a smart meter installed. Echelon and ELO are able to offer the Parintins project unmatched flexibility and time to market advantages based on the industry standard Open Smart Grid Protocol (OSGP).”

Smart grid technology developments are becoming more popular in the BRIC countries. RET reported in March 2012 that a five-year plan in China could unleash up to 300m smart grids in the country within the decade.