Electricité Réseau Distribution France (ERDF) has begun a major transformation of the electrical grid which will eventually replace 35 million electric meters with smart meters. The huge project is getting underway with a pilot run of 300,000 meters.
ERDF is a wholly-owned subsidiary of EDF Group, one of the world’s largest players in the energy market. In 2007, EDF Group had sales of €59.6 billion, a capacity of 124.5 gigawatts, and 38.5 million customers. EDF Group does have the largest electricity generation assets in Europe.
Atos Origin has been selected to develop the computer network for the project and will lead a consortium of technologically oriented firms that will undertake the pilot project. Atos Origin is a multinational provider of IT services that delivers custom solutions from planning phase to final solution.
ERDF plans to introduce the latest, most technologically-advanced smart meters that are capable of receiving and transmitting data over the network to be developed by Atos Origin. Once in place, meter readings will be compiled remotely and will be automated, and the power grid can be optimized for performance just as a computer network.
Data from the installation of millions of new smart meters will also be recorded and stored to be processed and analyzed for insights into smart grid optimization. The computer system under development that will be charged with managing and maintaining this huge volume of data will constitute the core of the forthcoming Automated Meter Management (AMM) system.
Along with the 35 million plus smart meters that will eventually be installed, project specifications call for over 700,000 data concentrators that will handle first line routing requirements of meter data. The project will be the largest of its kind that Europe has ever seen and will serve as a benchmark for other nations wishing to introduce a smart meter network.
Philippe Germond, Chief Executive Officer at Atos Origin, commented: “We’re extremely pleased that ERDF has chosen us as both overall integrator for the pilot phase of the project and to build the central information system for this truly extraordinary program.”
Atos Origin has a long history of upgrading critical systems that operate in real-time – many of these systems essential to business operations. The technology firm also has a long history with EDF having first established a partnership in 1978. At that time, France was seeking help with its extensive nuclear power program. The new AMM effort is intended to become a springboard into the future and drive innovation for years to come as the next-generation smart grid is developed.
“Altos Origin won this contract on the strength of our deep expertise in targeted industry sectors and our ability to integrate, manage and upgrade mission-critical systems over a long-term horizon. This business win is a great example of how we capitalize on expertise and innovation across the group to deliver excellence for our clients.”
Project specifications for the pilot smart meter project have been developed that call for the AMM system to provide information transmission and processing comparable to what is available within the control room at a typical nuclear power plant. Considering Altos Original’s 30 year experience working with France’s nuclear power program, the company is the perfect selection for the effort.
Altos Origin, with operations spanning the globe, employs over 50,000 people in 40 countries. In 2007, the company had revenues of €5.8 billion.
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