That’s the title of the Dec 14 IEEE ComsocSCV Meeting in Santa Clara, CA. In addition to two presentations and a spirited panel discussion, there will be a short award ceremony preceding the talks. Here’s a brief description of each talk:
1. Fiber enables Santa Clara’s “Smart” Wireless WAN
Larry Owens of Silicon Valley Power (SVP) will describe the utility’s smart grid objectives and networks. SV Power currently owns and operates a 57-mile, four-ring, 144 fiber backbone that not only connects SCADA and substations for higher reliability, but it also connects over 2 dozen data centers and supports the communication needs of 16 commercial entities through its dark fiber leasing program. Early in its smart grid thinking, SVP realized that a highly capable wireless network that blanketed the city and backhauled over fiber would have value far beyond advanced “smart” metering. SVP then purchased a nearly-abandoned 802.11b/g SkyPilot system that covered part of Santa Clara and was able to prove the ability to communicate securely with a multitude of devices in the field. SVP is now ready to replace the original Wi-Fi system with a serious, utility-grade, fiber-backhauled 802.11b/g/n Tropos system that covers the entire City of Santa Clara . This has us all thinking about how this approach enables the future for our utility, the city and the community. From dark fiber leasing to free outdoor Wi-Fi, SVP takes “smart” to the next level.
2. Outdoor wireless networks for smart grid
IEEE ComSoc SCV’s Wireless Program Director – Chari – will discuss smart grid communications requirements and the unique challenges those present for wide-area wireless networks (coverage, reliability, latency, QoS, etc.). He will also discuss how Tropos Networks is addressing those challenges in the context of an overall wireless system design that includes mesh with fiber backhaul as well as other wireless technology elements.
After the presentations, the speakers will engage in a lively panel session with the moderator and the audience.
Speakers and company affiliation:
- Larry Owens, Divison Manager of Customer Services and Marketing, Silicon Valley Power
- Narashima Chari, Co-founder and CTO of Tropos Networks
Further details and RSVP instructions at: www.comsocscv.org
Backgrounder on SV Power’s Smart Grid Objectives & Research Findings:
Silicon Valley Power, formerly known as Santa Clara Municipal Utilities, provides electricity to residents and business’ in the city of Santa Clara. In addition, the utility leases its dark fiber network to business customers, particularly those with interconnected data centers.
Here are a few highlights:
52,000 customers, $280M annual revenue
- 1% of the State’s power usage
- 57-mile fiber optic network
- 2010 – SVP is #1 in:
- EPA Green Power Community
- Large Customer Satisfaction/Value
- Lowest Average Rate in CA
- One-step Solar Permits/Interconnection
- Very, very high power reliability
A key finding was that most Santa Clara residential customers favor smart meters, with two-thirds saying the smart meter concept was a good idea. But few customers want to give up control to reduce load (e.g. let SV Power manage electricity load for a customer). That gave motivation and incentive for SV Power to pursue its smart grid initiatives.
SV Power’s Smart Grid focuses on Wi-Fi, Information and Empowerment. The features desired by residents include: free WiFi, customer alerts, projected bill, up to date usage, on/off switch for peak energy, select bill due date, environmental program, off peak rates, hourly data review, daily usage stats.
SV Power will upgrade its technology to support widespread adoption of solar energy, smart appliances and electric vehicles. They will follow a careful process and verify accuracy at every step, protect customer data and privacy, and keep the computer system secure. They plan to utilize tried-and-true meters that have been successfully deployed in millions of homes and businesses worldwide. They are committed to a fair resolution of any issues or problems that may arises that arise.
Silicon Valley Power Overall Goals
- Be competitive in the marketplace with a continuous focus on customer service
- Provide economic value to the City of Santa Clara and its customers, maintain low residential rates, and offer competitive rates for all customer classes
- Manage debt and resources to achieve and maintain a competitive position
- Be a strategically driven organization with a focus on our performance as an energy services supplier
- Operate Silicon Valley Power in a safe, reliable, efficient, and environmentally responsible manner
- Manage Silicon Valley Power successfully through electric industry restructuring
- Enhance value to our customers through the delivery of new products and services
- Manage Silicon Valley Power’s participation in joint powers agencies to achieve the City of Santa Clara’s goals
- Develop flexibility to respond to changing business environments
- Achieve quality communications with all stakeholders
Data Center Networking in the City of Santa Clara made possible by SV Power’s Fiber optic network
The SVP Fiber Enterprise dark fiber network is owned and maintained by Silicon Valley Power, the electric utility of the City of Santa Clara, long recognized as one of the most reliable utilities in the nation. This dark fiber is leased to business customers, data center operators and telcos. SV Power operates and maintains the SVP Fiber Enterprise network. Characteristics and attributes include:
- 57-mile, four-ring, 144 fiber backbone
- Dedicated fiber staff
- Flexible term leases, flexible pricing
- 24/7 monitoring and on-demand support
- Redundant fiber paths
- Ceiling-free triple-play bandwidth
- Interactive, customer-driven design
- Ring fiber leases
- Rapid response work order fulfillment
Data centers are attracted to Santa Clara by the price of electricity from Silicon Valley Power, which is slightly less than pricing for PG&E in surrounding towns in Silicon Valley. Some data center providers using SVP Fiber Enterprise network include: Telx, Digital Realty Trust, DuPont Fabros, CoreSite, Vantage Data Centers, QTS, Terremark and Server Farm Realty.
Further information on the SVP Fiber Enterprise dark fiber network is at: http://svpfiber.com/index.aspx?page=1807