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Cable Technology Feature Article

November 23, 2010

Puerto Rico Power Chooses High Voltage Broadband Over Power Line Trial

By Carolyn J Dawson, TMCnet Contributor

Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) as a part of its smart Grid initiative has signed an agreement with PowerNET Inernational to engage in a trial of a high-voltage broadband over power lines (HVBPL) communications network. HVBPL is utilizing state-of-the-art, patented technology jointly held by Amperion, Inc., and International Broadband Electric Communications, Inc. (IBEC).

The cost to install HVBPL is a fraction of installing other types of communication networks because HVBPL relies on long-established and existing high-voltage electric power lines and infrastructure. The actual HVBPL technology was developed with a grant from U.S. Department of Energy in 2007, and the first successful tests of the patented technology were announced in 2009.

In March 2009, PREPA, PowerNET and IBEC announced the deployment of a Smart Grid BPL Communications network to provide a high-speed, “always-on” communications pipeline over medium- and low-voltage power lines. The purpose of this network is to interconnect and test IP based Smart Grid energy monitoring and administrations systems. The network has been a success.

In a release, Scott E. Lee, CEO of IBEC, said, “We are pleased to finally be able to utilize the next generation of BPL technology in Puerto Rico, HVBPL. PREPA’s trial project will demonstrate HVBPL’s ability to communicate to substations without an existing telecommunication service. After successfully establishing BPL networks on low and medium voltage systems, HVBPL was a natural leap forward. HVBPL can backhaul aggregated data from the grid’s feeders and from inside the substation, enabling applications such as line protection, SCADA expansion, video surveillance, substation automation, and data and voice backhaul”.

Amperion CEO Nachum Sadan, went on to say, “Amperion has successfully demonstrated the benefits of HVBPL in recent field tests with American Electric Power (AEP) and we are very excited to work together with IBEC and bring this innovative solution to Puerto Rico.”

PREPA is a government-owned electric power generation, transmission and distribution utility company and the main provider of electric power to all residential, commercial and government entities in Puerto Rico.

Amperion provides advanced communications products and solutions for Smart Grid applications using IP-based hybrid network.

Carolyn John is a Contributor to TMCnet. To read more of her articles, please columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf