Smart Cities

Honeywell lands $15 million smart grid project with Connexus Energy

Smart grids and IoT-connected meters are the new energy standards in smart city technology. Find out how Honeywell is deploying advanced smart grid technology in Minnesota.

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This is an example of the smart meter that Honeywell is installing for Connexus Energy customers.

Image: Honeywell

Honeywell recently dove deeper into the smart grid technology market with the announcement of a $15 million project to install IoT-connected meters and a smart grid for Connexus Energy in Minneapolis, MN.

As part of the project, Honeywell will install more than 138,000 of its EnergyAxis connected meters and its new SynergyNet mesh networking platform for the utility company. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2018, and it will provide real-time data on the energy consumption of residents for more accurate billing, usage management, and detecting meter tampering.

Honeywell completed its $5.1 billion acquisition of Elster in January 2016, and that's pushed the company forward in its smart energy technology. Elster created technologies for commercial, industrial, and residential heating systems and gas, water, and electrical meters—including smart meters and smart grids.

SEE: Louisville and the Future of the Smart City (ZDNet)

This is the second major smart grid project Honeywell has announced this year. In February, Honeywell began a five-year project, worth more than $200 million, to deploy Honeywell's Elster EnergyAxis AMI advanced metering technology throughout Memphis Light, Gas, and Water's service territory in Tennessee. MLGW has more than one million utility meters, making it the largest three-service public utility in the US.

"We provide smart grid solutions to the utility industry as well as enabling smart cities through things like Wi-Fi enabled thermostats or connected street lighting integrated into our solutions," said Mike Caranfa, senior vice president of smart energy, Honeywell Home and Building Technologies. Caranfa was previously a senior vice president with Elster.

Having IoT-connected smart meters helps with the collection of data, and using it to benefit cities, he said.

"Once you connect things, that doesn't mean much unless you can grasp that data and put it some place and analyze it and create actionable intelligence out of that information. That is some of the challenges going forward with connected homes, businesses and the overall Internet of Things," Caranfa said.

SEE: Smart cities: 6 essential technologies (TechRepublic)

The smart city approach has barriers beyond the technical, such as when one company owns the gas meters, and another controls the water, and yet another owns the electric meters. Each device is collecting data, but it's being reported to different organizations, so it can't be analyzed to create useful information or shared with citizens, he said.

"One thing that Connexus will find once they deploy this technology is that they will be more easily able to identify tampering or theft of energy, which is something they can alert consumers to, which will lower rates for everybody. They can gather data more frequently. Right now, they read meters once a month. As they implement smart grid technology, they'll be bringing back much more frequent bits of data," Caranfa said.

Honeywell currently has about 120 smart grid and smart meter deployments throughout the US and Canada.

Three takeaways for TechRepublic readers:

  1. Honeywell is embarking on a $15 million smart grid project with Connexus Energy in Minneapolis, which will provide real-time data and help with billing and usage management.
  2. In February 2016, Honeywell inked a $200 million smart grid and smart meter deal with Memphis Light, Gas, and Water in Tennessee as well.
  3. Both projects were spurred by Honeywell's $5.1 billion acquisition of Elster, which was finalized in January 2016.

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About Teena Maddox

Teena Maddox is a Senior Writer at TechRepublic, covering hardware devices, IoT, smart cities and wearables. She ties together the style and substance of tech. Teena has spent 20-plus years writing business and features for publications including Peo...

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