Missing from many discussions of smart grid is consideration of the central role that access to unlicensed spectrum plays in leading edge deployments of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI).
Unlicensed spectrum—radio frequency bands that are open for shared use by all users that satisfy technical requirements—is administered by the FCC but not controlled by any particular user.
Since the early 1990s, utility commissions across the country have approved billions of dollars of rate-recoverable utility assets based on unlicensed spectrum (Silver Spring Networks White Paper). Unlicensed spectrum has been used for automated meter reading and for SCADA systems that need to communicate with power control devices deployed across a utility’s distribution network.
AMI vendors including Datamatic, Elster, GE, Itron, Landis+Gyr, MasterMeter, Silver Spring Networks and Trilliant and many of the largest AMI deployments in the world, including: Pacific Gas and Electric, Florida Power & Light, Pepco Holdings, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric utilize the unlicensed 900 MHz spectrum band.
On March 22, Leaders in Energy and WifiForward will convene a panel of experts who possess a first-hand understanding of cutting-edge AMI deployments. The panel, held at the Washington offices of Google, will provide an opportunity to discuss and explore interesting questions related to the how, the why and the positive impact of AMI deployments that utilize unlicensed spectrum.
Speakers to be announced in the near future. Registration is available at: