The power must flow

Wireless comms play a huge and increasing role in the neverending battle to keep the lights on, as Sam Fenwick discovers in this piece on the utility industry

Richard Luke, chief operating officer (COO), at the Joint Radio Company (JRC), says its priority, and that of some of the other focus groups in the utility industry, this year “is very much about making government and regulators aware that the changes they are demanding (such as the shift to smart grid and low carbon generation) requires a magnitude of change in wireless communications”.

He adds that the shift from centralised to distributed generation, given the rise of renewable power sources such as solar cells and wind turbines has transformed the electricity grid’s operating model as, prior to their adoption, electricity flowed in a single direction. This change is requiring distribution network operators (DNOs) to become distribution system operators (DSOs), which Luke says have a much bigger role to play, and he adds that the increased complexity of the system requires real-time data links.

“Radio is perfect for that application. Running smart grids over the air requires an absolute minimum of 2 X 3MHz TDD LTE in UHF, and a lot of our focus is on obtaining this.”

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