Great River Energy’s telecommunications system includes three critical components that form the communications infrastructure. They include the fiber backhaul system, 700 MHz wireless broadband (SCADA) network and trunked mobile radio system. All three involve large, current, multi-year projects needed to support the future grid activities of tomorrow.
Great River Energy has begun work to replace its trunked mobile radio system. The system is currently used by 14 Great River Energy member cooperatives and could be used by the other 14 in the future.
A trunked mobile radio system is a complex, computer-controlled, two-way radio system that allows sharing of a few radio frequency channels among a large group of users and organizations, such as Great River Energy and its member systems.
“As we partner with our member cooperatives, we plan together to build a foundation for smarter energy and deliver solutions and services,” said Jim Jones, Great River Energy vice president and chief information officer. “Having a private mobile radio system helps us ensure safety and reliability of our crews and the electric grid.”
Great River Energy’s existing system was installed in 1999, and the equipment and technology are at the end of their useful life. Spare equipment is difficult to obtain and failures to this aging infrastructure are imminent. The Great River Energy project will replace existing analog equipment with new digital equipment while, in many cases, using the same communication tower configuration and antennas.
As part of that replacement project, telecommunications technicians and engineers are already being trained on the new equipment.