The physical assets of the energy industry continue to become increasingly connected to enable automation, microgrids, renewable energy, smarter grids, and smarter cities. Utilities and their business models are evolving in response to pressures such as integrating more renewables, restoring service faster after weather events, or addressing the lower tolerance for outages from more demanding consumers.

As a result, utilities need solutions to enable a growing number of smart devices to effectively communicate with each other—and ultimately communicate back to the utility to enable intelligent business decisions. At the core of distribution grid modernization efforts is the need for communications networks, but how do distribution providers choose the right network for all their distribution assets? Is it one network? Is it multiple networks? How do they best leverage their existing networks? This paper explores:

  • The emerging relationship between distribution grid infrastructure and communication networks
  • The role of a common communication network and platform for an increasingly wide range of distribution grid devices
  • The organizational and consumer benefits of a common communication network and platform for distribution grid modernization