Evergy uses Anterix spectrum for grid modernisation

  • October 4, 2021
  • Steve Rogerson

Kansas-based utility Evergy plans to use the Anterix spectrum to deploy a private wireless broadband communications network using LTE technology to support its grid modernisation initiatives.

Anterix and Evergy have signed an agreement providing Evergy the use of New Jersey-based Anterix’s 900MHz broadband spectrum throughout Evergy’s 72,8000-square kilometre service territory in Kansas and Missouri. The long-term lease agreement is for 20 years, with two ten-year renewal options.

“Evergy is an innovative leader in the utility sector, and we are pleased to welcome them as the third utility in just nine months to sign a contract with Anterix for access to our 900MHz spectrum for private LTE, joining Ameren and San Diego Gas & Electric,” said Rob Schwartz, Anterix CEO. “We’re also excited about this relationship because Evergy’s service area shares 25 Missouri counties with Ameren’s territory, setting the stage for the two utilities to demonstrate the first instance of collaboration towards a network of networks using 900MHz private LTE.”

Under its earlier arrangement with Anterix, Ameren leases the 900MHz band spectrum throughout its service territory in Illinois and Missouri, including those 25 counties.

When the FCC identified 6MHz of 900MHz spectrum for broadband in May 2020, Evergy’s land mobile radio system was a significant user of narrowband channels within that block, thus qualifying as a complex system under the new rules. That same month, Evergy agreed to exchange spectrum with Anterix, allowing Evergy to move its land mobile radio system to different 900MHz frequencies outside the broadband allocation, thus freeing the 6MHz of broadband spectrum for a potential future LTE system.

“Smart grid technologies have a growing importance for our grid modernisation efforts as we continue to transform our operations to a focus on clean, safe and reliable energy,” said Kevin Bryant, chief operating officer at Evergy. “Today’s agreement with Anterix provides a key component of the communications foundation required to help advance these initiatives, which are not only important for increased safety and efficiency, but are also crucial to maintain a resilient grid in the future.”

Since its creation from the 2018 merger of local energy providers Westar and Kansas City Power & Light, Evergy has been working to consolidate the operations of the merged utilities to serve its 1.6 million customers. Its agreement with Anterix will help achieve that goal. The private LTE network using Anterix’s 900MHz spectrum will enable a secure broadband communications capability throughout the combined service territory and facilitate the unified adoption of smart grid applications.

Anterix is the largest holder of licensed spectrum in the 900MHz band throughout the contiguous USA, plus Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico.