6 smart grid projects you don’t see every day

Reading smart meters over white space in Cambridge: Cambridge, England has deployed what’s being called the world’s first city-wide, fully-functional wireless network in white space, which is the unused and underused parts of the wireless spectrum. Those involved in the Cambridge initiative say it will eventually enable a whole host of Smart City applications. To demonstrate, technology company Neul and Bglobal Metering last week showcased a smart electricity meter reading over the white space network. In addition to the smart grid, Neul says its network “opens up several fascinating possibilities for the Smart City of the future, enabling smarter transport and traffic management, city lighting and other municipal services.” Get more details on the project here.

In rural India, solar microgrids may light the way: Millions of residents in rural India light their homes with kerosene lamps and may face long treks to town to charge their cell phones at a kiosk. But a company called Mera Gao Power is out to change that by building and operating low-cost, solar-powered microgrids in Indian villages. Helped by falling solar panel prices and LEDs, and a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development, Mera Gao Power has deployed its first commercial microgrid in nine villages and has its sights set on 40 more. According to the MIT Review, which named the company’s microgrid technology to its list of 10 Emerging Technologies, it isn’t a substitute for grid power as it only supports lighting and cell phone charging at present. But it’s what villagers want and can pay for, since  the microgrid installation costs can be spread across a village. Read more here.

On the Kalamazoo River, a vintage hydro plant gets a microgrid: Encorp recently completed a $300,000 500KW microgrid project at the century-old hydroelectric power plant located on the Kalamazoo River in southern Michigan that will allow the plant to continue supplying residents with sufficient, reliable energy.  Fort Collins, Colorado-based Encorp said it restored the plant’s energy protection and control equipment so it continues functioning as originally designed more than a century ago. Encorp also supplied grid interconnection and automated control equipment for the power plant’s 1920-vintage hydroelectric generators. Read more about the project here.

Honeywell DR project in California lauded for big energy savings: Honeywell’s smart grid project with Custom Building Products, a Bell, California manufacturing company, was recently recognized by the Southern California Chapter of the Association for Energy Engineers for its high level of substantiated savings. Custom Building Products enrolled its 142,000-square-foot building in an automated demand response (Auto DR) program, managed by Honeywell, to control how the facility’s equipment responds to Southern California Edison’s dynamic pricing structure. “This project enabled us to optimize our production lines to react to dynamic pricing, maximizing our energy savings in the process,” said Jim Bell, facilities and maintenance manager for Custom Building Products. “Honeywell also uncovered energy-efficiency opportunities while helping implement our complex automation strategies, which will lead to both short-term and permanent cost savings.” See here for the savings breakdown.

ABB project in Nevada will soak up a whole lot of sun: ABB has contracted with SunEdison to build a photovoltaic power plant in North Las Vegas, Nevada. And it’s going to be a big one. The 24.8 megawatt (MWdc) PV plant that will start providing power to NV Energy in the next few months will come from an array of 87,168 solar panels covering an area of 154 acres on private land, equivalent to approximately 116 football fields. Read the press release.

Discovering the beauty of wind power in New York: Zotos, a beauty company based in Geneva, New York, is claiming a first with its 3.3 MW on-site, wind energy project, which powers its 670,000-square-foot manufacturing plant. The project is comprised of two 1,650 kW wind turbines. Zotos says it’s a first for the beauty industry but also the largest wind project for a manufacturer in the U.S., according to the American Wind Energy Association. The  project is expected to meet nearly 60 percent of the Geneva plant’s power needs and is one of several sustainability initiatives the company has invested in. Read more:

Image courtesy of Cimexus, Mera Gao Power, rawmustard.

This article originally appeared on SmartGridNews.com. SmartGridNews.com is the Internet’s oldest, largest and highest-ranked smart grid site. Visit for up-to-the-minute analysis of smart grid trendssmart grid technology and smart grid companies. Sign up for the free email newsletter or follow SGN on Twitter.