Power Line Communication make a Smarter Grid

Highlight of G3-PLC conference is a practical demonstration of Nexans’ innovative PLC solutions for Smarter Grid applications

Paris, December 3, 2012 – Nexans, a worldwide expert in the cable industry, today hosted a technical conference highlighting the vital role that Power Line Communications (PLC) solutions, deployed over existing electrical distribution infrastructure, will play in the creation of Smarter Grids.

PCL for Sparter GridOver 120 key stakeholders in the Smart Grid ecosystem, including utility companies, equipment and semiconductor manufacturers, system integrators, IT vendors, automotive companies, academics and French and European administration were gathered at Paris’ Musée des arts et métiers to discuss how PLC technology, based on the G3-PLC protocol, offers, beyond smart metering which is often the first application, a reliable, flexible and cost-effective route to providing electricity distribution network operators with intelligent monitoring and control capabilities. The highlight of the conference was a practical demonstration of Nexans’ innovative PLC solutions.

The idea of using power distribution lines for communications applications is not new, it has been around since the 1930s. What is new is the approach embodied in the G3-PLC communications protocol, utilizing PLC at both the low voltage (LV) and medium voltage (MV) distribution levels, with communication through transformers supporting IPv6 protocol to provide effective two-way links from the primary substation to the meter, with a high data bandwidth that is internet 2.0 compliant.

A key advantage of G3-PLC is that, compared with other wired and wireless architectures, it offers a simple, elegant and cost-effective approach to creating the robust and reliable communication networks essential for Smarter Grids. By communicating on the very power line infrastructure, it avoids the need to create new communication paths through obstacles such as large buildings, and particular topologies that can block wireless communications. So, installation and maintenance costs are lower and the utility can rely on its own network without having to subscribe expensive services from telecom operators.

“Discussions on Smarter Grids tend to focus on Smart Metering. But that is just one piece of the puzzle. PLC technology is in fact ideally suited for providing fully integrated network management of all the devices on a distribution grid, from production to consumption”, says Alain Robic, General Manager of Nexans Power Accessories France. “Nexans’ well proven capability in power accessories combined with our vast knowledge of existing electrical distribution infrastructure put us in the ideal position to take a leading role in developing innovative PLC products, for which we own a number of patents. This conference has been the perfect opportunity for us to show the world the real progress that has been made towards industrialized PLC solutions.”

Currently, Nexans has G3-PLC equipment deployed in several collaborative pilot projects with customers and partners in France and other countries. We benefit a lot from the experience sharing in an innovation field where energy, electronics and information technologies converge. The industrial phase is estimated to be one to two years in the future.


Editor’s note – background on the G3-PLC protocol

3G-PLC logoNexans is a founding member of the the G3-PLC™ Alliance organization, sponsored by Electricité Réseau Distribution France (ERDF), which was formed in order to support, promote and implement G3-PLC in Smart Grid applications. G3-PLC is a global open power line communication protocol specifically designed for Smart Grid communications. It enables Smart Meter management, control and monitoring of the electrical distribution network, energy management, EV charging, lighting control as well as other Smart Grid applications. Just as with other ubiquitous communications standards, WiFi and Bluetooth for example, this Alliance has been created in order to drive widespread adoption of G3-PLC by enabling rapid development up and down the entire electric power ecosystem.
 

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About Nexans

With energy at the basis of its development, Nexans, worldwide expert in the cable industry, offers an extensive range of cables and cabling solutions. The Group is a global player in the energy transmission and distribution, industry and building markets. Nexans addresses a wide series of market segments: from energy and telecom networks to energy resources (wind turbines, photovoltaic, oil and gas or mining…) to transportation (shipbuilding, aerospace, automotive and automation, railways...). Nexans is a responsible industrial company that regards sustainable development as integral to its global and operational strategy. Continuous innovation in products, solutions and services, employee development and commitment, customer orientation and the introduction of safe industrial processes with limited environmental impact are among the key initiatives that place Nexans at the core of a sustainable future. With an industrial presence in 40 countries and commercial activities worldwide, Nexans employs 25,000 people and had sales in 2011 of 7 billion euros. Nexans is listed on NYSE Euronext Paris, compartment A. For more information, please consult: www.nexans.com or www.nexans.mobi