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Nokia and A1 have joined forces to provide a private wireless network for Siemens’ microgrid, which is deployed at its Austrian headquarters in Vienna. The A1 campus solution demonstrates the advantages of using a private wireless solution to operate critical applications such as enterprise or utility microgrids, and how they can be efficiently implemented with secure, reliable and fast connectivity.
Renewable energy sources, storage and microgrids are being adopted by industries worldwide to help enterprises minimize their environmental footprint and reach their sustainability objectives. Smartly managed renewables within a microgrid are making an impact on many industrial applications by offering energy cost savings and supplying security to industrial campuses.
Nokia is providing the industrial-grade private wireless network, while A1 is providing spectrum along with hosting and management of the newly deployed campus network. The private wireless network is connecting the microgrid assets on the Siemens campus, enabling secure communication between the microgrid controllers and the metering or charging points at guaranteed data rates and with low latency.
The Siemens Vienna campus microgrid project includes solar generation, electric vehicle (EV) charging, building management and battery storage. Initially, Siemens has implemented 320kW of solar generation and 500kWh battery storage, all to support around 50 EV charging stations.
Wolfgang Hesoun, CEO Siemens Austria: "One of the challenges of the future is a reliable and at the same time clean supply, transmission and use of energy. Microgrids can significantly contribute to this. Our campus project, in combination with the infrastructure of an existing industrial plant, is the first of its kind – and offers many opportunities for innovative research and concrete new solutions.”
Intelligence by connectivity
Despite their size, microgrids are complex systems with many elements which need reliable connectivity because they integrate distributed energy sources such as solar cells and battery storage. Voltage levels across the grid are in a constant state of flux with load balancing and optimization between different sources and loads requiring direct control. With private wireless, the microgrid controller easily connects to all assets to manage the grid, ensuring optimal load balancing between energy demand and availability of local distributed energy resources.
Avoiding the need to deploy cabling to connect sensors and other devices associated with managing the microgrid results in speeding up its deployment and enables an easier expansion. A1 network slicing, together with edge cloud processing, is able to achieve the reliable low latency needed for automated microgrid control responses to manage instantaneous load fluctuations. This infrastructure can be used for additional industrial use cases where wireless connectivity and high reliability are critical.
Marcus Grausam, CEO A1 Austria, said: "Network slicing in A1’s mobile networks allows organizations to operate private wireless networks which not only offer the best possible security, but also enable completely new applications thanks to lowest possible latency and high reliability. By using this private campus network as the foundation of the Siemens microgrid, we are demonstrating how 5G technologies enable the optimal control of energy facilities."
Peter Wukowits, Head of Nokia Austria, said: “Managing microgrids is another example where both utilities and enterprises, such as Siemens, can benefit from the reliable wireless connectivity provided by private wireless networks. Nokia brings its experience of supporting more than 200 utility customers in mission-critical networking to this microgrid project. Our private wireless LTE/4.9G solutions contain many of the capabilities required for today’s Industry 4.0 applications, as the Siemens microgrid deployment demonstrates. And additional capabilities for future industrial use cases will follow with 5G.”