Echelon Corporation (ELON), a global leader in energy control networking for smart grid, smart city and smart building applications, and Kapsch Smart Energy, a subsidiary of the $1.2B revenue per year Kapsch Group, which offers solutions for smart energy management, announced that they are currently operating 13,000 of Echelon's smart meters, which is part of the Echelon Energy Control Networking Platform, at Stadtwerke Feldkirch, the municipal utility for the city of Feldkirch, Austria. Kapsch and Echelon plan to target other utilities in Austria and Central Europe to bring the benefits of a multi-application grid modernization platform to utilities there. In the next few years the partners expect this market to be nearly five million in size.
"We are excited to partner with Kapsch on this opportunity and proud to supply Feldkirch with proven, reliable and feature rich smart meters, and we applaud their leadership position in modernizing the grid," said Michael Anderson, senior vice president, Worldwide Markets, at Echelon. "Echelon's smart metering solution satisfies both existing regulatory and business demands, but it also provides customers insight so they can better manage their energy usage and offer a path to meet future requirements and programs in the Austrian market."
Feldkirch was the first city in Austria to employ smart metering. Kapsch operates not only the meters but also the network infrastructure, the central control and analysis system and the energy consumption information for the end customer portal, where households and businesses can view their power consumption in order to individually optimize their power use. In addition to helping individual users lower their energy costs, these solutions also open up new possibilities for energy suppliers, such as in the area of pricing.
"I was pleasantly surprised that integrating the meters was practically plug-and-play from our perspective. Thanks to the mature solution, the system optimally fulfills our smart metering requirements," says Karlheinz Kresser, project director at Stadtwerke Feldkirch.
Feldkirch mandated the highest security standards of Kapsch and Echelon to satisfy all statutory and data privacy requirements of the Austrian smart meter ordinances. Echelon's smart meters use the existing electricity networks for transmitting data to the nearest network node. Every step of the communication is dynamically encrypted at 128 bits. This is the same level of security employed as other security intensive applications such as online banking. Corresponding authentication mechanisms for the meters and in the end customer portal are designed to prevent unauthorized access.
"The concepts of smart metering and smart grids are still relatively young. From the beginning, Kapsch has focused not only on the technical aspects but also on the legal and organizational factors. With international partners like Echelon, we also bring experiences from other countries into smart energy projects. With its multi-application platform based on open standards, Echelon has the best-established solution in the world," says Christian Schober, CEO of Kapsch Smart Energy. "This partnership further secures our lead in this market segment. The strengths of Kapsch Smart Energy and Echelon complement each other optimally," says Schober.