Extending Connectivity to the Grid Edge

In a T&D World article, Guidehouse Insights says as energy companies modernize, one solution is extending connectivity to the grid edge via wireless networks

The energy industry is rapidly transforming as utilities compete with growing portfolios of decentralized and intermittent energy resources. Additionally, power companies are facing challenges with stagnant demand, consumers that expect higher levels of customer service, and competition.

In a T&D World article, Guidehouse Insights’ Ricardo Rodriguez, research analyst, explains how utilities need to focus asset ownership and electricity sales toward a “beyond energy” integrated services and technology-based business model.

To do this, Rodriguez believes that many utilities will need to extend their connectivity to the grid through secure wireless means, including 5G and private LTE.

“5G mobile broadband services are the latest hype,” Rodriguez said. “This high speed, low latency wireless cellular network will play a crucial role in connecting large quantities of sensors and smart devices.”

Additionally, Rodriguez noted that utilities have an increased interest in licensed or shared spectrum options for the deployment of 4G LTE networks where the utility can build its own private cellular network. This would allow the utility to:

  • Manage the desired reliability and security level while building coverage to meet utility needs.
  • Maintain more control over the product lifecycle.
  • Grow economies of scale by reducing the number of disparate networks to manage.
  • Offer a selection from several standards-based LTE endpoint manufacturers, allowing for a more plug-and-play environment.
  • Lower maintenance costs compared with a variety of other communication alternatives.

“Utility modernization requires a communications network that is foundational to the delivery of safe and reliable service to customers, today and in the future,” Rodriguez said. “As an increasingly complex grid depends ever more upon data, the communications network becomes one of the utility’s key strategic assets.”

Read the T&D World Article
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