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The future of grid communication will take place within the distribution network


The rapid expansion of renewable energies in the course of the energy transition poses an increasing challenge for grid operators and for the quality of the grid. Smart metering systems, decentralized power generators, demand side management, storage devices and electric vehicles are integrated into a decentralized energy and communication network. However, faults in electrical systems or devices often occur. This results in high costs because the causes cannot always be found and eliminated quickly and easily. In order to guarantee reliable and efficient network operation, it is of great importance to detect faults in the network as quickly as possible and to determine which practical procedures are suitable for use then.

A company’s operating resources provide an innovative solution: they function on the basis of information and communication technologies (ICT) which improve the networking of sensors and actuators. This does, however, require a suitable ICT infrastructure. As part of the Smart Technology Planning (STeP) project funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), a mixed team from science and industry is currently developing and researching the integration of PLC in power cable infrastructures until the end of August 2021. PLC is a technology for voice or data transmission over the power grid. The advantage of this technology is that the network operator is independent of third parties. However, changes in the network structure or load/feed systems can have a negative impact on the performance of the PLC. For this reason, the project partners are specifically focusing on extreme scenarios and application-dependent requirements.

The first field test will be launched at the end of 2019. The project will run for a period of three years. The research project is being funded within the scope of the Sixth Energy Research Programme (funding area: electricity grids).