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Smart grid standards for monitoring and control of electricity supply
photo: AFP
Vehicle-to-grid and vehicle-to-charging station communications

Specs will link communications and electricity networks

Two new standards (ITU–T Recommendations G.9955 and G.9956) that will enable cost-effective smart grid applications have entered the final stage of approval at ITU. The two Recommendations form the global G.hnem standard for low frequency (9–500 Khz) power line communications for smart meters, energy management systems, smart appliances, advanced recharging systems for electric vehicles, and control and home automation. Both Recommendations are scheduled to be approved later this year

Commenting on the progress, ITU Secretary-General, Dr Hamadoun I.Touré said: “Smart grid is a dynamic addition to today’s energy networks, which will be capable of delivering customizable services on a massive scale. To ensure an efficient global roll-out, global standards are a must.”

The G.hnem standards address applications such as distribution automation, advanced metering infrastructure, demand side management, grid-to-home communications, home/building energy management, home automation, and vehicle-to-grid and vehicle-to-charging station communications.

In a standard power system, generation, delivery and consumption of electricity all take place at the same time. This makes the control of supply and demand uniquely challenging. The new standards provide the crucial link between electricity and communications networks, enabling utilities to exercise a higher level of monitoring and control of the grid.

G.hnem is an ideal platform for smart grid applications because it supports power lines as a communications medium — under the direct and complete control of power utilities. Since power line communications exploit the existing wired infrastructure, the cost of deploying a communications channel is greatly reduced. In addition, because G.hnem supports popular protocols such as Ethernet, IPv4 and IPv6, G.hnem-based smart grid networks can easily be integrated with IP-based networks.

Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, says: “Many national stimulus plans have given smart grid significant backing, with the need for standards also cited as key to the fast roll-out of the technology. The G.hnem standards now entering the final stages of approval can be applied globally today, and are ready to give a much-needed boost to power line communications technology, making electricity distribution cleaner, leaner and greener.”


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