NorthWestern Energy selects Full Spectrum’s wireless system for smart grid communications

NorthWestern Energy (NYSE: NWE) on Feb. 27 said it has selected Full Spectrum’s FullMAX private, broadband, wireless communications system to meet some of its smart grid communication needs in the United States.

The company did not disclose any financial details.

NorthWestern will use the FullMAX broadband wireless system to communicate with intelligent network devices, including capacitor bank controllers, reclosers, voltage regulators and voltage sensors distributed along remote transmission and distribution electrical lines.

NorthWestern will initially deploy FullMAX in Philipsburg, Montana. This deployment is part of the U.S. Energy Department’s Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project coordinated by The Battelle Memorial Institute.

NorthWestern Energy provides electricity and natural gas to 668,300 customers in 349 cities in the western two-thirds of Montana, eastern South Dakota and central Nebraska. The company manages about 30,500 miles of electrical transmission and distribution lines and 9,375 miles of natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines and storage facilities.

FullMAX base station radios are capable of creating wide area coverage up to 2,800 square miles from a single tower site, NorthWestern Energy said.

“We selected Full Spectrum for its ability to implement an advanced IP network, providing private wireless data coverage over extremely large and challenging terrain,” said Vernan Hogge, director of telecommunications for NorthWestern Energy. “For large portions of our service territory, FullMAX is the most viable solution to meet our networking needs”.