Auburn SmartGRID Project

Auburn Electric Department is a municipally owned utility located in northeast Indiana serving over 6,000 residential customers and approximately 775 commercial and industrial customers.  The system includes two interconnections at 138kV, a 69kV sub-transmission loop, and six substations, and covers a service territory of fifteen square miles.  Spectrum Engineering has provided engineering services related to Auburn's power system for over 25 years.
 
Through Auburn Essential Services, a department of the utility, the City also owns an extensive Fiber to the Premise (FTTP) network consisting of 185 miles of 96-strand fiber that links city hall, the police department, library, several fire department locations, the electric department, the six substations, schools, and various commercial enterprises.  In addition to these critical infrastructure locations the network also provides internet, data network, voice and data center co-location services to business and residential customers in the Auburn service territory.  Spectrum has been instrumental in the planning, design, and deployment of this network, including design of a data center and video head end.
 
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 (otherwise known as the "Recovery Act") provided an unprecedented opportunity to develop a whole-systems solution to address the converging problems facing infrastructure, energy, and the economy.  In 2010 the City of Auburn was awarded one of 100 ARRA Smart Grid Investment Grants to deploy new Smart Grid technologies. 
 
Calling this initiative "Auburn SmartGRID", Auburn took advantage of this opportunity to continue to develop its electric system in order to meet the demands of its customers and position the community ahead in terms of business and economic development.  Much of the budget for the grant was used to provide all customers with AMI Smart Meters that utilize the FTTP network to report energy usage every 5 minutes.  The City plans to enhance the existing government site to allow customers to view their energy usage on a real time basis.  Enhancements will also include the ability of the customer to set limits/targets for energy consumption and receive alerts based on those settings.  Tools will also be available for the customer to understand how energy is used in the home or business to help them use energy in a more efficient manner.  The meters will have the capability for communication with programmable thermostats and electric water heater controllers, and this demand response program will be offered on an opt-in basis.  Best of all, it's allowed the City to offer residents the lowest electric rate in Indiana!
 
Grant Administration:  Spectrum Engineering completed all award negotiation on behalf of the City of Auburn with the Department of Energy (DOE).  Once the award was approved, Spectrum continued to provide project planning support as it related to the specific deliverables required by the DOE and other Federal Government Agencies.
 
System Evaluation:  A complete and thorough System Study is intended to provide those managing a utility with a solid "roadmap" to follow during normal operations, operations under alternate system configurations and when considering future changes and additions.   This involves a detailed assessment of upgrade recommendations, including specific cost/benefit data used in establishing the prioritized list of improvements.  Data gathered during the system assessment phase, coupled with system losses, loading data and supply cost data all factor into system models.  It is with this focus that Spectrum approaches this type of study, with the clear outcome being a step-by-step timing chart of when/if the recommended changes are to be implemented. 
 
Spectrum utilized specialized software to model a system for Auburn Electric, given a range of measurement parameters, with the outcome providing the City with a detailed project plan for managing its electrical distribution plant as well as baseline data for the Metrics and Benefits reports required throughout the project.
 
Relay Upgrades:  Spectrum Engineering furnished the technical design, equipment specifications, construction documents, engineering budgets and construction schedules for the replacement/upgrades of distribution relays for Center Street Substation and West 15th Street Substation.
 
Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI):  Utilizing the existing/planned FTTH network presented an ideal opportunity to leverage a broadband network infrastructure with Smart Grid applications.  A Smart Meter was installed at each fiber-connected home point and was connected to the data network via an Ethernet cable.  As an integrated feature, the Smart Meter is able to provide an external power source for the Optical Network Terminal (ONT) and BBU.  The City expects the smart meters to reduce meter-reading costs, lower vehicle emissions, and enable advanced electric services for its customers.
 
Tantalus, a leading provider of real-time Smart Grid communications, was selected to provide the communications backbone, supporting the City's plans for an evolvable, fully automated metering solution.  The Smart Meter gathers energy data such as kWh meter reads, instant voltage, and instant demand as well as water data.  The unit also monitors the AC line for power outage and restoration notification.  ZigBee and 900 MHz communication links are embedded into the Smart Meter as well.  The 900 MHz radio uses a radio link to read meter data from non-fiber connected homes.  All meter data is logged in configurable intervals for Time of Use and RTP scenarios.  Although not included in this application, this platform is gas meter ready.  If there is a need to "turn on" gas AMR functionality, the system will scale to accommodate.
 
"...the fact that we can add applications over the years to come is a big factor that grabbed our attention," said Stuart Tuttle, Auburn Electric's Superintendent. "We don't want to have to change our AMI system any time soon."
 
Spectrum developed a detailed specification and bid package for Auburn Electric, provided assistance with vendor selection, and assisted with the field deployment of the head end equipment and field meters.
 
Distribution Automation:  Electric infrastructure upgrades will include new Distribution Automation capabilities.  Remotely controlled capacitor banks and new microprocessor based feeder relays will enable Auburn Electric to optimize voltage control and power quality along the length of each distribution feeder.  Motor operated smart switches and reclosers will enable rerouting of power flows in the distribution network, enabling load balancing and automatic service restoration.
 
Spectrum Engineering furnished the technical design, equipment specifications, construction documents, engineering budgets and construction schedules for the deployment of reclosers and capacitor banks. 
 
Auto Transfer Trip Upgrades:  Auburn Electric has deployed a state-of-the-art fiber optic network, optically linking data and communications to all City departments.  Additionally the optical fibers are used to link each substation to the electric department for functions including telephone, security, and high speed Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA).   Given the extreme security and public safety issues related to electric system protection, the use of Synchronous Optical Network (SONET) was discontinued and the optic network is used to connect the transfer trip alarms.
 
UMS SCADA Upgrades:   A redundant UMS SCADA Master system is made up of the following:
  • Delivery of data to a SQL database so that the data can be used by systems including AMI, GIS and the outside data portal
  • Processing based on an event occuring (time of day, beginning of a billing interval, error code being sent by a remote device, etc.)
  • Time of Use calculations
  • Using data from the AMI system and the protective relays, a determination of where an outage occurred (within two pole spans) is very useful in quickly restoring power to the affected users.
  • As electric usage approaches a new peak, demand loads can be shut off to keep the peak from occurring thus saving money on peak charges.  Demand control can also be used to remove loads when generation cannot keep up with demand.
  • Event reports generated by the protective relays are very useful in determining why an event occurred and what can be done to help avoid the event in the future.  most of the protective relays have the ability to generate event reports.  Collecting the reports to a central location speeds the process of examining the reports to determine what happened.
  • Dynamic Line Load Calculations:  Based on information from the weather station (temperature, wind speed and direction) and the size and type of conductor calculations on the amount of current a line is capable of carrying without damage.  This helps the system automatically (or have operators) shift load to protect lines and helps planners determine more accurately where to build new or improved lines.

Ethernet processors were added to all substations that had a communications processor and both were added to those with no existing UMS SCADA system.

UMS SmartGRID Applications
:    Integration of Spectrum's UMS SCADA system, ESRI GIS and AMI meter data assist with coordinating response and restoration to outages throughout the system.  To provide communications to all the new AMI meters, demand response devices, and distribution automation equipment, the City intend utilized the existing Fiber to the Premise network to  connect all the way to the meter.  The meters also utilize a mesh network to provide redundant coverage for all meters throughout the network.

A redundant Master system was virtualized.  This Master system has the ability to collect data from multiple sources including, but not limited to:
  • UMS SCADA
  • Existing Auburn EGovernment software
  • Existing billing software
  • AEP meters at the energy purchase points for the city
  • AMI system

Spectrum worked with Logikos to develop the HMI application for Auburn Electric.  The engineering services included the following:

  • System model (GIS driven)
  • Interviews of system stakeholders
  • Event scenario analysis
  • Program creation
  • System development
  • Installation and testing
  • Training for Auburn Electric and other City of Auburn personnel