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‘Smart Grid’ Draws Attention

Commission takes a look

Expect to hear a lot more about the “smart grid.”

The Federal Communications Commission is looking for comments about the implementation of such technology. It notes that proponents say it’s a way to use broadband and other advanced communications to promote energy efficiency, cut greenhouse gas emissions, create jobs and drive other benefits.

The core of the concept is about electrical distribution, but there are implications for communications. For instance, as RW’s Skip Pizzi has noted, part of the concept involves an integrated, two-way “backchannel” for monitoring and controlling distribution. FM RDS might be used to disseminate control info under one such systems.

The questions the FCC is asking now are aimed at figuring out how “advanced infrastructure and services” can help a smart grid be implemented efficiently — things like which communications networks and technologies are suitable; are those commercial communications networks up to the task for deploying a smart grid; are commercial wireless networks reliable enough to transmit data during emergencies; what would the control infrastructure look like; and what spectrum considerations are involved.

Read the detailed questions here.

Comments are due Oct. 2. If you weigh in, you should refer to GN Docket Nos. 09-47, 09-51 and 09-137. The commission asked that commenters use the title “Comments—NBP Public Notice #2.” (You can use the Electronic Comment Filing System.)