Smart grid communications equipment: EMI, safety, and environmental compliance testing considerations



Analysts predict that a total of $200 billion will be invested globally in smart grid technologies before 2015, including development of various smart grid elements. The United States announced $11 billion in stimulus funds for the smart grid under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Deployment of “smart” technologies for sensing, monitoring, metering, communications, control, and automation is already underway. The integration of advanced communication technologies with the smart grid can lead to electromagnetic interference (EMI), as well as safety and environmental compliance issues. This represents a real need to study the impact of smart grids on communications equipment, and their EMI, safety, and environmental compliance requirements. Without appropriate compliance requirements defined, there is the potential for technologies to be developed or implemented using sizable public and private funding, without proper measures necessary to ensure performance, security, and safety. This paper provides an overview of the power grid environment, and the international standards for communications equipment. The impact of the installation environment on communications equipment in the smart grid is then addressed, with special consideration to EMI, safety, and environmental compliance requirements, standards, and testing. © 2011 Alcatel-Lucent.