In recent years, developed nations have initiated comprehensive power grid upgrade initiatives. In line with its commitment to energy conservation and carbon reduction policies, Taiwan has advanced the implementation of Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI) as part of its national energy-saving strategy. The plan encompasses the integration of 4G/5G and other communication industries. The noteworthy progress in the development and integration of smart grid applications with 5G communication technology represents a significant industrial advancement deserving of attention.
What Constitutes a Smart Grid?
A Smart Grid refers to a modernized electricity transmission network that leverages communication technology to detect and collect information on consumer power usage. This data is then used to coordinate electric power supply within the system. The information gathered enables adjustments in the production, transmission, and distribution of electricity, optimizing power consumption for household and enterprise users. This not only saves energy and reduces losses but also enhances the reliability of the power grid.
Recent Developments in Smart Grids:
The focal points in the recent development of smart grids include the promotion of "smart meter infrastructure," the planning of smart grids, and the implementation of "smart power service." In Taiwan, recent years have seen the initiation of smart meter testing and demonstration programs, actively supported by the integration of communication technologies like 3G/4G, RF Mesh, PLC, Wi-SUN, Wi-Fi, and wired optical fiber. The maturation of Low-Power Wide-Area Network (LPWAN) technology, including LoRa and NB-IoT, has become particularly suitable for smart grids due to their low data volume requirements. The introduction of 5G is poised to diversify smart grid applications, offering high-speed transmission, significant capacity, low latency, network slicing, and edge computing capabilities.
5G Smart Grid Application Scenarios and Communication Requirements
The 5G system utilizes slicing technologies such as eMBB, URLLC, and mMTC to meet various application requirements within the smart grid. Network slicing technology accommodates different transmission needs, supporting applications ranging from image monitoring with large bandwidth requirements to power distribution management with small bandwidth and low latency needs.
Distributed Energy Resources (DER):
As the global trend in energy generation shifts towards a higher proportion of renewable energy, decentralized energy systems are gaining prominence. Household solar power generation, electric scooters, and home energy management systems are becoming mainstream. To manage the increasing amount of decentralized energy effectively, virtual power plant technology, coupled with 5G's high-efficiency, low-latency network, ensures stability and reliability equivalent to traditional power plants.
Distributed Automation (DA)/Feeder Automation (FA):
Distribution automation (DA) and feeder automation (FA) are integral to the smart grid, requiring 5G URLLC technology for low transmission delays between base stations and distribution/feeder terminal equipment. 5G technology can replace existing fiber-optic infrastructure, providing millisecond-level network transmission delay, thus offering an improved solution for wireless communications in distribution/feeder automation.
Inspection Inside/Outside the Substation:
Ultra-high-speed 5G technology finds application in high-quality video inspections of grid equipment and structures, including audio-visual inspection robots within substations and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) inspections of transmission lines. 5G's low-latency characteristics, coupled with edge computing, enable stable transmission and low latency in inspections.
Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI):
Smart meter reading is facilitated through the deployment of RF Mesh with PLC, and the introduction of slicing technology creates a wireless private network, ensuring higher-strength security isolation for smart meter reading.
5G's Role in Accelerating Smart Grid Implementation
5G networks, with their low-latency characteristics, complement smart grids, providing new communication solutions. Network slicing technology offers flexibility, accommodating diverse application scenarios and providing different levels of network access. This accelerates the implementation of smart grids and fosters a secure and reliable transmission of grid data.
The integration of smart technologies in the grid is poised to enhance efficiency, reduce emissions, and improve durability and safety. Challenges will inevitably arise, but as smart grids gradually meet demands for reliability, safety, and cost-effectiveness, they are expected to play a pivotal role in everyday life.