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New electricity standards ready

New standards that will enable cost-effective smart grid applications such as distribution automation, smart meters, smart appliances and advanced recharging systems for electric vehicles have entered the final stage of approval at ITU.
The G.hnem standards (ITU-T Recommendations) address several smart grid applications such as distribution automation, advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), demand side management (DSM), grid-to-home communications, home/building energy management, home automation, 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 of its support of power lines as a communications medium that is under the direct and complete control of power utilities. Since power line communications (PLC) exploit the existing wired infrastructure, the cost to deploy a communications channel is greatly reduced. In addition, because G.hnem supports popular protocols like Ethernet, IPv4 and IPv6, G.hnem-based smart grid networks can easily be integrated with IP-based networks.

Commenting on the progress, Dr Hamadoun Touré, Secretary General, ITU 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 rollout, global standards are a must.”

Malcolm Johnson, Director, Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, ITU, said: “Many national stimulus plans have given smart grid significant backing, with the need for standards also cited as key to the fast rollout 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.”

The two G.hnem standards ITU-T G.9955 and G.9956 contain the physical layer specification and the data link layer specification, respectively, for narrowband OFDM power line communications transceivers for communications via alternating current and direct current electric power lines over frequencies below 500 kHz. These ITU-T standards support indoor and outdoor communications over low voltage lines, medium voltage lines, through transformer low-voltage to medium-voltage, and through transformer medium-voltage to low-voltage power lines in both urban and long distance rural communications.

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