Electrical Business


Universal Powerline Assoc. readies specs

October 7, 2008 | By Alyssa Dalton

The Universal Powerline Association (UPA)—an industry consortium providing a forum for the design and development of interoperable and open-specs for Powerline communications—is issuing two market requirement documents (MRDs) for Powerline communication-based Smart Grid and Command & Control (C&C) applications.

The MRDs for Smart Grid and Command & Control applications share three fundamental principles:

• Delivering interoperability across all C&C and Smart Grid applications;

• Maintaining an open, non-proprietary protocol meeting and exceeding industry requirements; and

• Facilitating international regulatory approvals.

Command & Control MRD focuses exclusively on in-home applications
and those that tie into the Smart Grid, such as HVAC, appliance,
security, lighting and energy management applications. The UPA’s
C&C working group collaborates with UPA’s Smart Grid working group
for the definition of the residential gateway interface.

shall develop a single technical specification and certification
process based on the UPA MRD. We are paying special attention to energy
consumption requirements,” said Paul Bertrand, C&C Working Group
chair. “New regulations in Europe and the U.S. require low-power
devices and place restrictions on standby power, and the MRD has
arrived on time to take full account of these requirements in the
development of a specification for environmentally friendly Command
& Control devices.”

Smart Grid MRD provides a baseline for clarifying the multiple
economic, commercial, legislative and environmental requirements
against which UPA members develop products and services. Smart Grids
must help utilities intelligently integrate the actions of all
components and users connected to the grid. This holistic
infrastructure defines the UPA Smart Grid from generation, transmission
& distribution to advanced metering. The considerations include
reliability requirements in a range of operating environments.

Smart Grid MRD tackles a range of grid issues, such as necessary data
speeds that allow the infrastructure and product/solutions on the grid
to be instantaneously responsive in a range of applications. It also
tackles robust levels of security to defend against cyber-intrusion.
The UPA MRD defines how the entire value chain of the Smart Grid
network needs to operate and interoperate, taking into account existing
infrastructure, processes and approvals, as well as futureproofing with
new and proved techniques and technologies.

“To a
utility, a Smart Grid is a commercial imperative as well as a
technological implementation,” said Chris Graham-Fielding, UPA Smart
Grid Working Group chair, explaining that utilities are faced with
complying with a range of environmental targets. “These include, for
example: an 8% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels
by 2008-2012 (Kyoto) or increasing the share of electricity from
renewable energy systems to 21% of gross electricity consumption by
2010, and reducing energy intensity by a further 1% per year until

For this
reason, said Graham-Fielding, one cannot speak of a ‘single’ element in
a Smart Grid, but rather an end-to-end cohesive solution. “It must
provide reliable and cost-effective two-way communication across and
between vast internal and edge assets,” added Graham-Fielding. “From
automated metering intelligence/infrastructure (AMI) and transmission
& distribution intelligence through to the inclusion of supervisory
control and data acquisition (SCADA) or distributed power control to
demand side management, the UPA PLC-enabled Smart Grid is key to
delivering that.”

CLICK HERE for more information about the UPA.

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