Paris, France --- (METERING.COM) --- June 18, 2013 - The French transmission system operator RTE has launched a smart substation pilot project involving the use of cutting edge digital and optical technologies to optimize the capacities of substations and ensure they are better able to deal with the mass expansion of renewable energies.

The project, believed to be the only one of its kind in the world, will provide the on-board smart capabilities built into the substation infrastructure to provide the interactivity needed to compensate for the intermittent nature of renewable generation.

Equipped with a meteorological station, the smart substation will be able to automatically adapt to climatic conditions. In the event of a line fault, it will self-heal by analyzing the situation and restoring power quickly and independently when all lights are green.

The four-year trial will be run at two substations located in the Somme, which has more wind farms than any other part of France. Initial on-site testing will begin in the autumn of 2015, with real life operation within the main power system by the end of 2015. The technology will be rolled out across France in stages from 2020.

RTE is the coordinator of the project. Partners include ERDF, Alcatel-Lucent, Alstom Grid, Neelogy, and Schneider Electric.

The overall budget for the project is €32 million, of which €9.7 million is being provided by the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME) under its Future Investment Program.