Amperion Starts Commercial Deployments of Broadband Powerline Carrier over HV Transmission Lines

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Amperion Inc. of Lawrence MA announces the start of commercial deployments of its BPLC systems for pilot wire line protection applications over HV transmission lines

"The Broadband Power Line Carrier technology is most effective on 138kV lines and below which makes up two thirds of the market in NA"

Amperion Inc. a provider of advanced communications solutions announced today that it has completed the testing necessary to begin commercial deployment of its Broadband Power Line Carrier (BPLC) systems by working in a partnership with a nationally recognized electric utility. The utility plans to use Amperion’s BPLC products as a replacement strategy for pilot wire technology in 69kV and below line protection applications. The first commercial deployment will begin in the summer of 2011, with a project that includes replacement of pilot wire systems with BPLC and the upgrade of electro-mechanical relays with digital solid state relays from two prominent relay suppliers. The motivations for modernizing the pilot wire protection schemes with broadband powerline communications is improving the reliability and accuracy of line protection and reducing maintenance costs associated with pilot wire. Past pilot wire replacement strategy within the utility required a fiber path between stations, which had a high installation cost and required line outages to install, in most cases. According to initial estimates, the capital cost savings of BPLC compared to fiber optic communications could reach as high as 90%. Another advantage of BPLC compared to fiber is its simple and fast installation process, accelerating the implementation of substation retrofit projects.

Nachum Sadan, Amperion CEO, stated, “The partnering utility has demonstrated an industry leadership position yet again by being the first utility to deploy BPLC commercially. We have been jointly developing and testing this technology since 2006 and are now ready to move from R&D to full production.”

The commercial deployment of BPLC is the final milestone in a five year multi phase project that included proof of concept testing on 46kV lines in 2006, extensive field testing on 69kV lines since 2007 and deployment on 138kV lines in 2010. The partnership successfully demonstrated simulated line protection in 2010. They plan to work on testing other applications such as SCADA, DA, video surveillance, and synchrophasor data streaming using the technology going forward.

Leveraging the use of existing transmission lines for substation communications is not new. Electric utilities have been using Power Line Carrier (PLC) technology for many years. Amperion is positioning its patent protected BPLC technology as the next generation PLC. Like conventional PLC, Amperion’s Broadband PLC also leverages the use of existing transmission wires for communications; however BPLC operates at higher data rates and shorter distances. Sadan added that “Amperion is targeting the sub-transmission lines of 138kV and below that make up 67% of the total available market in North America.”

About Amperion
Amperion Inc. is a privately held company based in Lawrence, MA delivering cost effective communications solutions to electric utilities. Amperion developed the Broadband Powerline Carrier (BPLC) technology for substation communications over existing transmission lines. Holder of the foundational patents for broadband communications over power lines, Amperion has a long history of innovations and has an extensive intellectual property portfolio worldwide. (http://www.amperion.com).

Inquiries can be directed to info(at)amperion(dot)com

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Nachum Sadan
Amperion
(978) 569-2030
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