Why LTE wireless brings power grid security, convenience and convergence to the last mileDecember 6, 2021
Many environmentally aware and cost-conscious consumers invest in solar panels at their homes. Previously, we just consumed energy. Now, we can potentially send energy back into the grid and track it in near real-time.
It’s thrilling to see your power consumption statistics confirm that your rooftop solar is worthwhile. You’re proud to be a Prosumer—Producer and Consumer at once! However, you may have a myriad of questions: What is that spike in my consumption that’s causing me to pay for power from the grid instead of earning credits? Who else can see the data shared by my smart meters and rooftop solar? Am I protected when my grid loses power?
The utility provider also has questions: How do we ensure that consumer-produced solar power does not overwhelm my power grid? How can I quickly expand into new neighborhoods? When we open up our grid to rooftop solar systems, how can we stop bad actors from hacking into the rest of the power grid?
Solving the Last Mile challenge
This blog post is about that last mile in the power grid. This is where power enters the consumer domain; it’s also where safety and security become paramount. We will address how LTE enables more real-time monitoring of power grid components when high power lines enter a neighborhood and how consumer power generation affects and enables the power grid. We will also explore how LTE provides power grid security that enables utilities to share wireless access across the consumer and operational domains.
Through the previous three blog posts in this series, we gained a better understanding of how a private LTE network can be used to bring ubiquitous connectivity and reliability to multiple aspects of the power grid. LTE wireless networks are a welcome new tool for grid modernization. They achieve latencies comparable to fiber, but at a fraction of the scaling costs during expansions.
In the blog posts, we also traced how power generated by fossil fuels, gas, wind and distributed energy resources are balanced at transmission substations. These connect over short latency connections to distribution substations—the gateways to power delivery for enterprises, industries and homes. Having a common wireless network over the entire power grid allows converged access to utilities’ operational performance and employee communication.
The new Prosumer changes the landscape
With the rise of distributed energy resources like rooftop solar systems and the growth in sustainable consumer power, it’s increasingly important for utilities to have continually updated information on the demand variance of consumers in the power grid. What was traditionally unidirectional (power grid feeding homes) is now bidirectional (solar and electric vehicles returning some power to the grid, while still consuming power from the…