Rural Texas co-op, modernizes power grid with distribution automation
Bandera Electric Cooperative completed its first distribution circuit automation project in Bandera to improve energy efficiency and reduce costs. This type of automation is the starting point for the development of a smart grid.
The smart grid provides real-time adjustment to changing loads, generation and operating conditions of the system, while integrating renewable energy resources.
Manager of BEC Fiber, Shane Schmidt, works with a contractor to install the fiber optic cable that will upgrade Bandera Electric Cooperative’s distribution system to a smart grid.
The automation is enabled by the fiber optic network installed in Bandera last year. BEC Fiber was installed to improve and support the electrical grid, but has a secondary purpose of providing high-speed internet access to members. For the first time, many members in BEC’s rural service territory are seeing the benefits of high-speed internet.
Distribution systems are becoming more complex, and with the addition of numerous distributed generators, the energy supply can be intermittent and challenging to manage. Utilizing BEC’s fiber optic network for automation allows for a standardized approach to provide for the reliability, efficiency, safety and cost effectiveness of the power system as well as enhancing grid security.