Technical and economical aspects of remote data transmission ways for smart metering
Examensarbete för masterexamen
Smart meters are the next generation of electricity meters and the difference compared to the old meters is that they are able to transmit and receive data. Smart metering is one way to better help customers understand their electricity consumption and thereby help them to save energy. Smart meters are essential for the European Union to reach its targets; to reduce the output of greenhouse emissions by 20%, to improve energy efficiency by 20% and to increase the percentage of renewable energy sources by 20% by the year of 2020. Sweden is the first country with a 100 % roll out of smart meters, monthly readings are mandatory from 1st July 2009 and therefore all utilities have installed smart meters. The purpose of this thesis was to investigate different kinds of remote transmission ways for the consumption data, from the customer to the utility. The scope is also to find out advantages and disadvantages of smart metering in general. Since Sweden is the first country with 100 % roll out of smart meters a survey with Swedish utilities was performed. Mainly two different transmission techniques are used by Swedish utilities; PLC and Radio. PLC is used by many utilities in Sweden since the infrastructure is already present and there is only little need to install extra equipment. Therefore it is also a cheap solution and another advantage is the independence from external suppliers. The main disadvantage is the sensitiveness for disturbances such as frequency controlled engines, energy saving lamps, flat screens and parabolas. Disturbance problems have increased during the later years and due to this reason one utility in Sweden now changes from PLC to Radio. Radio is more expensive than PLC, both to buy and operate but the advantage is that it is insensitive to disturbances. Further advantages are that no galvanic contact is needed which means that concentrators can be place wherever is wanted and less concentrators are needed compared to PLC. For a successful implementation in Germany as well as in other European countries there are, above the choice of technique, some critical factors; government requirements, costs and security. If there is no requirement of a full roll out of smart meters it makes it easier for utilities to put the problems off. The lack of requirements may also lead to a short-term solution which probably costs more in the long term compared to an immediate full roll out. A full roll out of smart meters is a large investment but will also lead to a number of possible savings such as decreased demand to customer service and less driving due to remote read outs. It will also be easier to discover illegal power usage and gives the possibility to disconnect customers not paying their bills. As the technique is further developed the new electrical meters will probably be cheaper than the old electromechanical ones. Disadvantages are the dependency of the system, a failure causes large impacts. There are also larger amounts of data to be handled and complex systems that require another competence. This study has showed that the benefits with smart meters are significant compared to the old meters. The experiences from countries having a full roll out have showed that the necessary techniques are present and accessible at a reasonable price. A full roll out of smart meters across Europe might be essential to reach the 20-20-20 target set by EU.
Elkraftteknik , Electric power engineering