As well as making the grid more reliable and efficient, the technology could deliver high-speed Internet, TV, and telephony.
The State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) is running the smart-grid project using passive optical networking (PON) technology—a high-bandwidth data wiring that can be run inside electric power cables without interference. Around 86,000 premises in China have so far been connected to the grid; if the project goes nationwide, it would cost around $2 billion to deploy.
China’s nascent smart grid could help spur development of the underlying technology. “This is the largest utility company in the world, covering most of China, so it could potentially have a huge influence on the opportunities for equipment and component vendors,” says Julie Kunstler. […]
Some academics have also voiced skepticism that the approach could work in the United States. Michael Caramanis, a professor in Boston University’s College of Engineering, says the synergy between fiber and smart grids is debatable. […]
UCLA’s Gadh is more optimistic, however. Despite the different market conditions in the U.S., he believes utilities there may benefit from observing the SGCC pilot—although it would be down to each individual company to decide whether to follow suit. […]
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