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Smart grids - Transforming local networks
The rollout of smart meters across Great Britain provides us with a golden opportunity to speed up the development of local smart grids.
It needs a rapid, resilient communications service to enable real-time monitoring and control of smart meters and other grid devices.
Reliable and flexible network capacity
The consumption of electricity varies considerably from hour to hour, with peaks at certain times of day. Network capacity needs to be available to accommodate energy flows at these peak times. A projected growth in renewable energy penetration, combined with the anticipated rapid rise in the use of electric vehicles, is set to make energy flows even more variable and so increase the scale of the challenge.
Real-time monitoring and control
In the long term, the development of smart grids, where energy consuming and producing devices can be monitored and controlled in real time, will help utilities to even out the flow of energy and reduce the peaks. Distribution Automation can also be added at substation level to make the grid more effective and dynamic. When combined, these should lessen the need to invest in energy network reinforcement. This could save Great Britain £billions.
A step towards smart grids
The GB-wide smart metering rollout, which will require communications with every meter, will provide a much clearer view of network status down to household level. As such, it will be an important stepping stone towards smart grids. Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) will be able to diagnose and fix outages more rapidly and precisely and provide improved service to customers. By dispatching repair crews only when and where they are needed, DNOs can also save operational costs.
Always available communications
However, to achieve deeper energy and cost savings, it is important that smart metering communications are rapid, always available and flexible enough to economically cover other grid devices. For example, real-time communications could be used to remotely set millions of big energy consuming devices, such as washing machines and electric vehicles, to use energy at times when there is available network and generation capacity.
A proven solution
We have the answer. Our solution provides the dedicated, secure, resilient and proven long-range radio (LRR) communications network for smart metering and associated grids requirements for all of Great Britain.