Johan Bil, R&M Western Europe takes Smart Buildings Magazine through a recently completed project in the Netherlands

Energy company Alliander has begun using to use smart metering and smart grids to manage its increasingly dynamic energy network. Alliander consists of companies Liander, Endinet and Liandon and transports electricity and gas to 3.3 million clients in the Netherlands.

"Previously, energy was generated in a power station and transported to local end users," says Jochem Turk, Telecom telecom Lead lead Engineer engineer within Secondary secondary Engineering engineering at Alliander. "Until a few years ago networks only operated ‘unidirectionally’. However, energy networks are becoming increasingly dynamic as a result of the addition of vehicle charging stations and energy generators such as wind turbines, solar panels and geothermal sources.”

“Not all of these are controlled by utilities and the energy yield is highly variable. To manage measurements and distribution, continuous real-time information is essential. This information is collected and analysed through sSmart Meteringmetering and smart grids. Alliander opted for a full ‘end to end’ fibre connection .I was responsible for the preparation of the technical specifications for the active and passive aspects of the network. "

Highest possible uptime

The backbone is being leased from several dark fibre providers. Alliander built the 'last mile' to the substations with fibre. The fibre network consists of a total of three core rings and 25 aggregation rings. This way, when other providers roll out similar networks, these can easily be connected. The main network requirement was availability, or the highest possible uptime. The design had to ensure this. For example, in some cases the devices have been equipped with double power supplies.

Rene Eriks, who managed the project on behalf of installer Schuuring, states: "For Alliander the advantage is being able to manage and maintain their own infrastructure, without having to depend on other parties," says. Alliander can now easily organise the network and even scale up, so it will always fit their current needs. We see 'Smart Grids' as here to stay in the utility sector. The entire sector embraces this concept..."

"Customer requirements in this case are high and the design also differs from solutions in other sectors. For us, equipment reliability and quality and materials were most important. Everything has to be absolutely trouble-free and long lasting. We don’t just accept specifications dictated by the manufacturer, but we check all equipment in every step of the process."

"In this project, every location is equipped with redundant connections. If a cable is damaged, a second cable takes over.”

Low Insertion Loss

All parties involved worked together closely, from the civil engineering to rolling out the fibre at various locations. Insertion Losses had to be kept as low as possible in this network, which was achieved by using connectors with a very high polishing degree.

Jochem Turk continues: " Alliander is one of the first energy suppliers to roll out a fibre optic network on this scale and other parties are watching closely. For everyone in the sector, it is now clear that this is the way ahead."