3GPP R18 Launches 5G Smart Grid Research, Unifies Global Standards, and Leads Industry Development

At the 3GPP SA#88e plenary meeting held online, China Telecom, together with 27 other members including China Southern Power Grid, State Grid, global carriers, Huawei, and other vendors, submitted the 5G smart grid project. Successfully approved in 3GPP R18, the project will define the standard E2E architecture of 5G smart grids for the first time, laying a solid foundation for its rapid development.

Smart Grids Thrive on 5G Deterministic Networking

Communications infrastructure is key to the success of smart grids. Existing power grids offer a wide portfolio of services posing diverse communications requirements during power generation, transmission, transformation, distribution, and consumption. However, as the concept of Internet of Energy emerges, communications networks offering more enhanced capabilities are urgently required. 5G, with its high bandwidth, massive connections, low latency, and high reliability, interworks with innovative technologies such as network slicing and edge computing to satisfy the requirements of smart grids.

The 5G Deterministic Networking Alliance (5GDNA) has been leading the research and development of smart grid technology, and members of 5GDNA's Energy Internet Industry Group have released multiple white papers and completed a series of cross-industry tryouts on 5G deterministic networking. Thanks to these efforts, the State Grid Corporation of China and China Southern Power Grid have emerged as smart grid industry showcases. The 5GDNA is dedicated to continuously promoting the innovation and development of 5G smart grids and standardizing telecom network requirements across the power grid industry.

Till now, CIGRE Chinese National Committee D2 Profession Committee released Chinese version of Smart Grid 5G Application Technical White Paper. Huawei teamed up with State Grid and China Telecom to jointly release the 5G Network Slicing Enabling Smart Grid White Paper, and collaborated with China Southern Power Grid and China Mobile on the 5G for Smart Power Grid Application White Paper. In these white papers, key services and requirements within the smart grid industry have been identified and defined.

Successful Initiation of 5G Smart Grid Project in 3GPP R18

The 5G smart grid project work item is jointly initiated by 28 3GPP members, encompassing global telecom vendors, terminal vendors, chipset vendors, verticals, governments, universities, professional scientific research institutes, large enterprises, with primary members including China Telecom, China Southern Power Grid, State Grid, Huawei, ZTE, Fudan University, China Mobile, China Unicom, CATT, Tencent, OPPO, Vivo, Xiaomi, Samsung, Vodafone, Telefonica, Orange, the European Space Agency, THALES, Sony, and Novimant.

Xia Xu, an expert from the China Telecom Research Institute and vice president of 3GPP SA1, was appointed project work item rapporteur. The project itself focuses on the role of 5G in smart grids, ranging from traditional energy services to remote control, teleprotection, metering, advanced metering infrastructure, distributed automation, and demand response, energy and distribution management.

This project examines the use cases and service potentials of 5G-powered power grids while taking carrier concerns into consideration, and analyzes deployment constraints, operations management requirements, smart grid use case requirements, KPIs, and the gaps between existing KPIs and those required by new services.

Jointly Formulating Unified 5G Standards and a Robust Industry Ecosystem

Xia Xu explained how 3GPP has continuously advanced the concepts, characteristics, connotations, and denotations of 5G smart grids, following in-depth research and discussion over the past year on the 5G smart grid project initiation application submitted by China. The smart grid industry in China has gained obvious advantages. By promoting in-depth integration of advanced information technologies, Internet concepts, and energy industries, in addition to boosting the development of new energies, models, and businesses, 5G smart grids will help to ensure energy security, cope with climate change, and achieve sustainable development.

Luigi Licciardi, Chairman of the 5G Network Slicing Alliance (5GSA), applauded 3GPP R18 5G smart grid research. 5G network slicing is a fundamental ingredient for the global power network (one of the champions of 5G applications) to accelerate the upgrade to smart grids and quickly move the Energy Industry towards the 5G digital transformation. 5G Network Slicing Alliance will strengthen cooperation with 3GPP and other leading SDO and Fora in the R18 5G smart power standard system platform, continuously collecting work achievements from various projects and organizations in the network slicing field, exploring smart grid business models, developing advanced research about new technological capabilities. According to its mission, 5GSA is fully committed to develop successful trials, PoCs and pre-commercial deployment with its business partners and to share the know-how and the experiences through white papers with the objective to extract recommendations and requirements to progress international standardization of key technologies and the related industry development.

Dai Jisheng, directorate general of the 5GDNA, praised the initiation of the 5G smart grid project. The 5G deterministic networking provides differentiated, deterministic capabilities required by large sections of the economy, and transforms traditional networks from application-adapted networks into application-defined networks. The 5GDNA will work closely with industry organizations such as 3GPP to promote the rapid development of 5G smart grids.

3GPP members have reached a consensus on the initiation of this research project, whereby 3GPP and 5GDNA will strengthen collaboration with international standard organizations and alliances such as IEC, IEEE, 5G-ACIA, CIGRE, and 5GSA to boost development of 5G smart grids and accelerate the standardization of power grid communications in 3GPP.

Leveraging a mature and fully equipped industry chain, and effectively showcasing the development of 5G, the power grid industry delivers widely-used applications, covers a wide range of services, and has a profound impact on other industries. The key to 5G development is openness and cooperation, and we hope that the industry can jointly participate in the formulation and release of unified 5G smart grid standards. Such collaboration will lead to a more secure, reliable, and flexible smart grid industry capable of driving other verticals and giving impetus to the development of 5G.

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