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5G applications: the energy sector at the forefront

5G applications: the energy sector at the forefront
22 . Apr . 2021

Digitalization is becoming more and more part of our daily lives. Accelerated by the current pandemic, digital technologies have set the foundations for a smart future in which innovative services will enable a fully connected world. This is where fifth generation technologies come into play, the so-called 5G, which is also becoming the future in several sectors.

What is 5G, though? Let us try to clarify this technology and the main characteristics that distinguish it from fourth generation technologies. The International Telecommunication Union has established a series of requirements that 5G must guarantee, including a latency - understood as response time - of 1 millisecond, a transmission capacity of up to 10 Gbps (compared to 150 Mbps with 4G), the ability to establish up to 1 million connections per square kilometer, and a 90% energy reduction for the sensors used. Thanks to these features, the advent of fifth generation technologies also makes it possible to connect many devices at the same time; compared to 4G, several devices per unit area greater than 100 times can be connected.

Such characteristics make 5G a paramount new technology for different sectors, such as:

  • Medical, by quickly transmitting large imaging files, expanding telemedicine, improving AR, VR and spatial computing, offering remote monitoring and implementing AI;
  • Communications, by connecting various devices, increasing latency and transmission capacity, and reducing the energy used;
  • Electric, through improved energy distribution within a smart grid, use of smart meters to monitor energy usage, remote monitoring of VRES, increased power generation efficiency and the offer of environmentally friendly solution;
  • Industrial, by creating lists of use-cases, setting up private networks, creating a portfolio of 5G IoT products and developing chipsets and modules tailored to specific applications.

In this respect, in our recent survey on Twitter, we asked our followers which one of these four sectors could benefit the most from the deployment of 5G technologies. Considering the follower base of our Twitter profile – mostly made of energy experts, electric engineers and industry stakeholders – the results where overwhelming: 100% of the respondents believe the power sector to be the primary beneficiary of 5G.

Although the other fields are, also, prone to be improved by 5G technologies, the power sector is certainly at the forefront. In fact, there are three main applications of such technologies in the energy sector, mostly concerning power utilities. The first involves the sensors, which can be applied to different devices such as smart meters, home automation for demand response, charging stations and smart grids. A second area of ​​application concerns real-time operations of the electricity system and the actions of control that utilities would put in place to guarantee the correct operations. Finally, the high data transmission capacity, typical of the high-frequency band, will be able to take full advantage of augmented and virtual reality technologies, as well as the use of drones, essential elements in strengthening of field operations aimed at asset maintenance and monitoring.

To learn more about this, do not miss out “5G and advanced connectivity for the energy transition”, the webinar organized by CESI and Elettricità Futura, which will take place on Tuesday, April 27th (from 10:30am to 12:00pm, CEST). The registration, free of charge, is available at the following link.

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