As well as making the grid more reliable and efficient, the technology could deliver high-speed Internet, TV, and telephony.
hina has begun testing smart-grid technology that could eventually be deployed nationwide to make the delivery of electricity more reliable and efficient. It might also serve as a way to deliver high-speed Internet, TV, and telephony to the farthest reaches of the country.
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.
Smart grids use computer networking to let utilities monitor everything from electricity use in customers’ homes to the performance of generators at power stations in real time. The concept has gained much attention in the United States but has been slow to catch on. This is partly because regional utilities have different ideas about how to best connect the last mile of the smart grid to users’ homes, says Rajit Gadh, a professor in UCLA’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.