Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Devolo plans expansion into Irish smart grid market

Steve Rogerson
November 3, 2015
German powerline communications company Devolo is expanding into the Irish energy market, where the government plans to install 2.2 million smart meters in all households and SMEs by 2020.
Data transfer via powerline with Devolo G3-PLC technology uses the frequency band between 150 and 500kHz. Joint pilot tests with Vattenfall Metering and various German network operators have produced impressive results using G3 powerline technology for wide area network (WAN) communications in the smart grid.
Ireland hopes its smart grid deployment will lead to more transparency as well as an estimated 2.5 per cent decrease in electricity consumption. It will also form the basis of an all-Ireland wide smart grid that will enhance reliability as well as increase the use of fluctuating energy sources.
Devolo has already sold more than 25 million adapters within Europe.
"With multiple manufacturing locations, logistics centres worldwide and plenty of experience in high-volume markets, we are perfectly prepared for entering the Irish market," said Heiko Harbers, CEO of Devolo.
Data communication over existing power lines (powerline communications, or PLC) are a central communications technology in a smart grid. The benefits of powerline technology compared with wireless technologies and telecoms networks come to the fore in wide-branching distribution networks, such as found in Ireland.
The pilot test with Vattenfall Metering and two other German distribution network operators was the largest test of G3 powerline technology to date, and included 1000 G3-PLC modems from Devolo.
"The G3-PLC modem 500k has no problem transmitting data through buildings," said Michael Koch, Devolo’s vice president for smart grids. “However, WAN communications using wireless technologies would not have been possible due to the solid construction of the office complexes and shopping centres Through this extensive pilot test, Devolo has demonstrated that G3-PLC technology in the frequency band of 150 to 500kHz has the requisite bandwidth for smart metering. In addition, all of the metering points in the network cluster are accessible without repeaters, which saves network operators both time and money."
In addition to data communication, data security is also a key aspect within the smart grid sector. Devolo recognised this issue early on and over a period of several years has developed expertise in secure handling of data. For the German market, Devolo has added a smart meter gateway to its product portfolio, which is to be launched next year.
Another addition to the product portfolio next year will be a control box that allows network operators to control decentralised energy suppliers and prosumers, users of photovoltaic systems, heat pumps, electric vehicles and thermal storage heating systems, and thus maintain stability of the mains supply network.
“We are using this clear focus to underscore our commitment to the energy revolution and the accompanying conversion of the mains supply to a smart grid throughout Europe,” said Harbers.
Devolo is exhibiting this week at European Utility Week in Vienna, Austria.