Aclara Technologies expands smart infrastructure business to Europe

Aclara Technologies has opened offices in Europe, responding to the growing need for smart infrastructure solutions.
Published: Fri 26 May 2017

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Aclara Technologies and its affiliates, including Aclara Meters , suppliers of smart infrastructure and metering solutions to electric, gas and water utilities, have expanded their business to Spain and the UK.

The new headquarters Bilbao, Spain will serve as the company headquarters for international operations and the new office in Cambridge, UK, will support Aclara’s growing business and its technical support team in the UK.

The new Bilbao office will incorporate all product lines with an emphasis on the electric and water sectors and will focus on meter development and IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) compliance.

The facility also features an onsite meter development test lab. The nearby second facility will be dedicated to meter manufacturing and logistics.

The UK facility is the hub for rolling out smart meters to Aclara’s energy customers and the growing smart grid sensor business that serves distribution network operators in the UK, as well as Aclara’s growing gas and water business in Europe.

Aclara's global interests grow

Aclara, which serves more than 800 utilities globally, has been aggressively growing its business in Europe and other parts of the world.

In the US, Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative (GVEC) has awarded Aclara an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) project.

Aclara’s solution will enable the utility, which spans 3,500 square miles across 13 counties in South Central Texas, to quickly identify and isolate the causes of power outages, determine the effect of bi-directional power flow on operations and monitor actual voltage going into homes. The system covers approximately 84,000 commercial and residential electric endpoints.

Aclara will be providing the end-to-end solution that includes smart meters, software analytics, and installation and implementation services in connection with the project. The solution offers GVEC a single point of accountability that will help the utility to enhance customer service and improve operational efficiencies.One of the key benefits of the new system is that it will provide the data GVEC needs to serve its customers more proactively.

In December 2015, Aclara acquired the electric meters business operating within GE Energy Management’s Grid Solutions subdivision and in August 2016 Aclara purchased a grid monitoring platform from Tollgrade Communications which includes smart grid sensors with Predictive Grid Analytics software.

Smart infrastructure in demand

The need for smart infrastructure solutions (SIS) that harness the power of leading-edge software continues to grow globally.

The European Union’s ‘Europe 2020’, a growth strategy that addresses sustainability, highlights the need for smart solutions. Under this initiative, most of the EU member countries have agreed to roll out gas and electricity smart meters to 80% of the population by 2020 and 100% by 2022. In the UK, the government is encouraging utilities to complete installation of 53 million smart meters by 2020.

These EU regulations in electricity and gas smart metering pave the way for national policies to include smart meter solutions for water utilities. Other specific water meter and non-revenue water reduction mandates in some markets also support water smart meter development. 

With the drive to decrease non-revenue water, water meter deployments across Europe are expected to increase by 28% from an installed base of 11 million meters by 2026. In the UK alone, the smart water metering market is forecasted to grow 12% over the next five years.

The UK intends to double its renewable energy usage to meet its 2020 carbon reduction goals.  To achieve this, Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) will need to increase grid edge intelligence and agility in the distribution network, enabling them to manage renewables intermittency, load shifting, capacity constraints, and bidirectional power flow.