5G and IoT systems: what they mean for smart grids

5G and smart metering are relatively new technologies that could leverage each other to increase their reach and usability, unveiling new scenarios of the switch to smart grids. The 5G standard allows managing up to a million of devices per kilometre square, simultaneously helping to avoid the premature degradation of their batteries, and could be the base to develop state of the art energy services thanks to its reduction of latency.

The digitalization of energy services allows the consumer to become a prosumer, empowering him and helping everyone get a grasp of their energy usage, while also reducing the need of intermediation in peer-to-peer sales systems. The chance to get real time data of our house energy usage, tariffs and the like is an awareness gain for the user that could have been causing problems to the grid and the energy providers, as the growth in the number of players, the decentralization and disintermediation require a boost of the computing capacity and elaboration algorithms, with the operations done in real time.

The latest technologies, such as smart metering and SCADA systems for data acquisition and control, actually go in the direction of an increased interdependency to the telecommunications networks. 5G should play a big role, helping creating smart networks that intertwine all the components of the system rapidly and stably, leading to a higher efficiency network and hopefully energy-savings for the consumers.

This is true both for electric and gas smart meters, but as of 2019, the smart gas meters installation had fallen a bit behind compared to the percentage of the smart devices connected to the electric grid, although the European directive that legislated on this matter dealt with them in the same timeframes. The smart gas metering business has finally gained momentum and is now growing steadily thanks to nation-wide rollouts in France, Italy, Belgium and United Kingdom, and should account in 2020 to around 62 millions of devices installed. According to a study published by Northeast Group 3,2 billions of dollars will be invested in smart gas metering during the period going from 2019 to 2028, divided between installation of domestic smart devices and the spent of big utility companies directed to technologies meant to reduce gas dispersion and to improve the monitoring of pressure and quantity of gas in the flow.

FAIST takes great pride in being part of this important leap forward, suppling both network filters for the 5G technology and components and assemblies for gas smart meters.