Madrid, Spain — (METERING.COM) — July 24, 2008 – Spanish utility group Iberdrola has completed the definition of its public, open and non-proprietary power line communication (PLC) telecommunications architecture to support smart metering and smart grid evolution.
The first milestone was the definition and testing of the basic Physical (PHY) layer earlier in the year, which is based on orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) and offers up to 130 kbps in the CENELEC-A band as well as further advantages such as increased robustness, longer distance reach and low cost.
Now, Iberdrola has delivered the Medium Access Control (MAC) and Convergence Sublayer (CS) specifications, after performing several tests with successful results. The MAC is the data link layer and the CS links the MAC to the upper, application layer, which will be developed based on international standards such as DLMS-COSEM.
This is a definitive step towards an open, public and standard automatic meter infrastructure (AMI) solution, which is being developed under the PRIME (Powerline Related Intelligent Metering Evolution) project. PRIME partners are Advanced Digital Design, Current Group, Landis+Gyr, STMicroelectronics, Usyscom and ZIV. A number of European utilities and global semiconductor manufacturers will soon be joining the initiative.
The final objective is the establishment of comprehensive set of international standards that will permit interoperability between products and systems from different manufacturers. This should boost competition in the metering market for the benefit of all stakeholders, particularly the end-user. Unlike other commercially available alternatives, no intellectual property rights will be held on the solution.
Besides the full specifications that are already available, in the next few weeks Iberdrola expects to publish the reference code, written in fully compatible ANSI standard C programming language, for the functionality of the MAC and CS layers.
A comprehensive functional metering specification is also being defined.
Iberdrola is planning to deploy a pilot project encompassing 100,000 PLC meters and 635 concentrators in 2009. The company will also develop its smart grid initiative over the pilot project.
The specifications are a response to the legal mandate for the rollout of AMI meters to supply points of 15 kW or lower throughout Spain by no later than 2018. For Iberdrola this involves more than 10 million meters.