5G in energy sector for network modernization - Ericsson
We united 13 prominent partners, including utility companies, for the EU’s SOGNO (Service Oriented Grid for the Network of the Future) initiative to explore how modernization and digitalization can help to create the power networks of the future.
Traditionally, utility companies built one-way networks, beginning with production in a power plant followed by power distribution directly to homes and businesses. Today, they produce energy from increasingly varied sources, including renewables. Renewable energy also comes from private individuals and companies, who feed their self-generated power into the network from the edges. Alongside this, new patterns of energy consumption are emerging as the number and type of energy-consuming technologies, such as electric vehicles, increase.
Power distribution networks were not designed with these needs in mind, so can become unstable.
Launching the SOGNO initiative
We launched and led the organization of the SOGNO initiative to respond to the needs of power network modernization.
It was established to address the growing need for distribution system operators (DSOs) to have real-time insights into network operation, as well as to remotely optimize their processes for a cost-efficient, seamless and secure power supply for customers. SOGNO is part of the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program.
We united 13 partners – industry representatives, academia, and small- and medium-sized enterprises – to jointly develop a scalable, cost-efficient automation solution, enabling data-driven monitoring and control of power infrastructure, proven as a turnkey service. The solution harnesses 5G to help virtualize automation services and locate them in the 5G Edge infrastructure. Combined with innovative sensors, data analysis techniques and 5G-based ICT, it provides support to DSOs with real-time control and decision-making in planning.
Promising field and laboratory trials
SOGNO ran large-scale field trials in live power networks as well as 5G tests in the Ericsson laboratory.
Leading utility companies – ESB Networks in Ireland and CEZ Group in Romania – participated the trials to explore how digitalization can enhance operations and improve services for customers.
The trials showed that increasing network monitoring can identify faults faster and crew could be sent to the precise location of downed lines. This is an example of actionable intelligence for operational improvement.
The benefits of 5G
The initiative verified that 5G networks can more than meet the ICT requirements for operating full-scale power network monitoring. Further to this, testing in a live environment provides an opportunity to explore how a 5G network can be configured to meet the real needs of utility companies.