Power Electronics

G3-PLC Recommended as One of the Communication Standards for a Japanese Smart Meter

Maxim Integrated Products, Inc. announced that its G3-PLC protocol has been recommended by the Smart House Standardization Study Group, sponsored by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI), as one of the communications platforms that Japanese electrical utilities should use for communication between a smart meter and a home energy management system (HEMS) in home area networks (HANs).

In partnership with Electricité Réseau Distribution France (ERDF) and Sagemcom, Maxim developed the G3-PLC specification to promote open-endedness and interoperability among smart grid implementations. G3-PLC supports the IPv6 Internet protocol to allow new Internet-based energy-management systems. The specification also supports two-way communication for demand response and other smart grid applications. G3-PLC was recently established as an ITU communications standard and used as the basis for the IEEE® 1901.2 PLC standard. The protocol is already approved for use in neighborhood area network (NAN) and HAN applications in various countries, including the U.S., France, Spain, Taiwan, and the Netherlands.

Testing by Japanese utilities proved that G3-PLC communicates reliably from the meter into the home, even with strong noise on the powerline from home appliances. Additionally, the G3-PLC specification met METI's key requirements, which included a widely accepted standard that supports the IPv6 Internet protocol.

An important capability of a HEMS system is to provide an in-home display (IHD) of energy consumption and cost information. IHDs provide real-time information on energy usage and electrical rates, thus enabling energy conservation, especially during peak load periods. METI is encouraging the use of IHDs to help Japan cope with decreased electricity generation when nuclear facilities were closed following the March 11, 2011, tsunami disaster.

"G3-PLC will enable Japanese utilities to design smart grid networks that they can source from multiple manufacturers. It will also let Japanese customers set up next-generation, energy-management control systems in their homes," said Michael Navid, Executive Business Manager for Maxim's Powerline Products. "G3-PLC will definitely help Japanese consumers better understand and conserve their energy usage," Navid added.

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