EnergyAustralia’s smart grid to use LTE - 21 Jan 2011

An agreement has now been signed between Ericsson and EnergyAustralia which now allows EnergyAustralia to become the first utility to use Long Term Evolution (LTE) for its 4G communications network. as part of the energy company’s smart grid rollout. A 4G machine-to-machine communications network using WiMAX and LTE standards is being built across apporximately 150 sites in Sydney, the Central Coast and Hunter Valley regions. 

A smart grid needs a communications platform to bring real-time data back from the substations, field devices and smart meters so it can be turned into useful information for field staff, engineers and households. The communications network is essential to transforming the electricity network into a two-way grid that is smarter, greener, more reliable and more interactive. 

The 4G network will transmit data between 12,000 smart monitoring devices, up to 3,000 mobile field computers and 200 major zone substations. A WiMAX communications network is now being rolled out and trials will begin on an LTE platform at 15 sites, with the plan to move to a full LTE network. 

One of the major benefits for choosing a 4G/LTE platform is its approach to cyber-security – a key consideration in selecting technology for the electricity industry. Smart grids make the electricity network more efficient, allow more renewable energy to be connected and give households greater control over their bills and environmental impact. A smart grid allows the electricity network to self-heal when some faults occur, prevents faults by allowing more effective maintenance and paints an instant picture of electricity use in every street for better planning. 

EnergyAustralia was recently chosen by the Australian Government to lead the Smart Grid, Smart City demonstration project to test Australia’s first fully integrated, commercial-scale smart grid. Their 4G network will cover the five locations that are part of the Smart Grid, Smart City project – Newcastle, Scone, Ku-ring-gai, Newington and Sydney CBD.

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