Kansas power company uses Tropos for smart grid demo program

ABB, a power and automation technology firm, announced that Tropos Networks (which ABB recently acquired) will supply Kansas City Power & Light Company (KCP&L) with a wireless communication network for KCP&L’s SmartGrid Demonstration Program.

Tropos’ GridCom® wireless IP mesh network will extend the KCP&L SmartGrid IP network to reclosers, capacitors and fault indicators in the field, providing direct monitoring and control communications with substation-based distribution automation controllers and the centralized distribution management system. It will help KCP&L optimize energy delivery through active Volt/VAR optimization and feeder load transfers.

The Tropos GridCom network also paves the way for enhancing power reliability by centrally monitoring fault indicators and automatically configuring around faults, reducing the impact and duration of outages, which is a cause of increasing concern for customers.

This order is the first reported since ABB’s acquisition of Tropos. The addition of the Tropos product lines to ABB’s existing portfolio of communications systems expands the offering for customers in the power, transportation, mining and public infrastructure sectors. The merger also reinforces ABB’s increased focus in the North American market, complementing its global presence in utility and industrial communications.

“Our Tropos GridCom network provides the high-capacity, low-latency and security required to support the applications we will deploy to implement our advanced distribution automation vision,” said Ed Hedges, manager SmartGrid Technology Planning for KCP&L. “Tropos’ support for standards such as IEC 61850 and IP, was also a key consideration in selecting them as our distribution automation communications network vendor. The Tropos network will enable KCP&L to deliver electricity more reliably and efficiently to our customers.”

“We are excited to work with KCP&L to create a reliable, high performance distribution communications network,” said Tom Ayers, president and chief executive officer, Tropos Networks. “This project will create a leading edge distribution automation solution at KCP&L that will help keep them at the top of the list for grid reliability and provide a model for other utilities in the Midwest.”

KCP&L’s Smart Grid Demonstration Program has received financial support from a Smart Grid Demonstration Grant (SGDG) funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Of the program’s more than $49.8 million cost, $23.9 million is being underwritten by SGDG funds.