This new form of grid requires a new level of communication, to balance supply with demand and keep energy flowing in the right direction.
Wind, wave and solar energy are playing a significant role in electricity supplies around the world, but for many years to come they will be supplementary to traditional power stations. That combination places a huge burden on the communications infrastructure to balance supply from divergent sources, ensuring efficient delivery of power, all the time.
Alternative sources of energy have their own communication requirements, connecting SCADA systems which manage and monitor operating equipment, and linking sensors and breakers (and brakes) for when critical failure demands a near-instantaneous response.
Fiber optic is usual in such deployments, where generating sites are newly built. Fibers provide reliable connectivity, and linked with robust multiplexers (such as ABB’s FOX family) they can be configured into loops to provide full redundancy.
Ethernet often provides edge connectivity, as it is easily deployed and supported by a wide range of existing equipment, but wireless technologies such as ABB Wireless’ extensive line of communications products, provide an cost effective alternative for both fixed and mobile equipment.
Smart Grids are extending beyond transmission into distribution and beyond, utilizing an increasing range of technologies and techniques to communication with dispersed resources. ABB continues to invest, and explore, the new opportunities and challenges presented by Smart Grid deployments.