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 – the MAC being the data link layer and the CS linking 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. No intellectual property rights will be held on the solution. 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.