Smart financials for smart grids

How to know if smart grid communication will deliver a smart return on your investment. We’re more dependent on reliable energy supplies than ever before. Energy companies are investing in smart grids to improve reliability and resilience, and cut operational costs.

Power_lines_4637_130422.jpgHere are key pointers for ensuring that smart grid communication will deliver a smart return on investment.

Look at the total cost

Upfront investment costs are important, but up to 70% of smart grid communication costs come from operations, such as

  • transmission line leasing
  • equipment room rentals
  • staff payments.

It’s vital to consider the total costs across the life of the network.

Aim for total coverage

Your chosen communication technology must provide cost-effective coverage throughout your geographical operating area. Adding new subscriptions to the system must be easy and low-cost to allow for future expansion.

TETRA radio technology offers wide-area coverage scalable from local to national deployments. High capacity in urban centres means you can develop your business as needed. Choose a hybrid TETRA + LTE approach, and you can complement the radio coverage with with commercial broadband networks. After all, broadband technologies offer new possibilities. Multimedia-enriched messaging or video transmissions from the field can bring new efficiencies to everyday operations.

Many TETRA systems have been designed to withstand extreme weather and operate in remote areas. Airbus TETRA systems, for example, can be maintained using a remote connection. This makes them suitable where no other telecommunication infrastructure is available.

Choose open standards

Healthy competition among vendors keeps costs down and encourages the development of new functionality. So choose an open standard with a healthy ecosystem of competing suppliers.

Prefer equipment with a long lifetime

The electricity grid is built to last and the communications system should be too. The safest choice will be carrier-grade equipment designed for a 15-year life. In addition, check that the support agreements guarantee service and spares availability to suit the critical nature of the utility supply system throughout that time.

Find a trusted vendor

Communication technology vendors need to show that they’ll be around for the lifetime of the smart grid so they can continue to support and develop their systems.

Buy one, get two

Smart grid communication technology need not be limited to monitoring and controlling smart grid devices. The best technologies can also provide reliable voice and data services for your mobile workforce.

TETRA offers data with extremely low latency that allows near-real time monitoring and control of transformers and distribution lines. It also provides

  • reliable group calling
  • individual calls
  • data services
  • and many more features.

Reliable voice communication enables better workforce management.

Pay as you grow

Your chosen solution should allow you to start small and scale up cost-effectively to a nationwide deployment, as and when your business develops. This pay-as-you-grow model means investments are never wasted.

Demand a system that is reliable, available and secure

The smart grid needs a reliable connection even when public communication systems fail. Typical examples include extreme weather conditions or events sparking spikes in demand, such as a local crisis or high-profile sporting event. It also needs to be secure against unauthorized interference.

Airbus can meet your requirements for smart grid communications

You can check all the boxes and get smart return on your communication investment. Airbus can deliver a complete smart grid communication solution, including

  • reliable TETRA communication networks
  • SCADA modems
  • award-winning handsets and vehicle radios
  • dispatching solutions
  • the hybrid approach, seamlessly complementing TETRA with broadband.

TETRA systems from Airbus are hardened for police and military use. They offer a wide selection of high-level encryption options to protect data traffic. Secure authentication ensures that unauthorised equipment cannot be connected to the smart grid. Jamming detection alerts you immediately if someone is trying to block network access.