Electric power is an important industry related to the national economy and people’s livelihood. In recent years, under the background of the national dual-carbon strategy, the electric power industry has undergone profound changes and faced multiple challenges. 5G is highly compatible with smart grid performance and can play an important role in all aspects of power generation, transmission, substation, distribution, and power consumption. In terms of specific applications, it includes control services, acquisition services, mobile application services, and grid-type services represented by multi-station integration.

Driven by the policy, as the leader and leader of 5G smart grid technology research and engineering practice, power grid companies have carried out extensive research and practice. In the future, the application of 5G in the power industry will still face many challenges, but the application prospects are very broad. This paper sorts out the background, main scenarios and application practices of 5G-enabled power industry.

01 Background and pain points

Electricity is an important industry related to the national economy and people’s livelihood, and an important infrastructure supporting economic and social development. In recent years, under the background of the national dual-carbon strategy, the reversal of the supply and demand situation, the change of load characteristics and the optimization of the power supply structure have doubled the pressure on grid regulation and faced many pain points. It is specifically reflected in the links of power generation, transmission, substation, distribution, and electricity consumption:

1.Power generation linkWith the rapid development of new energy power generation in my country, a large number of grid-connected renewable energy power generation has brought new challenges to power grid operation and management.First, renewable energy has the characteristics of intermittence and randomness. Second, the distributed deep penetration makes the distribution network change from a passive network with one-way power flow to an active network with two-way power flow.

2.Transmission gridCovering a large area, there are both urban underground cables and high-voltage lines. Traditionally, manual inspections are mainly used. The work efficiency is low, and there is a problem of difficulty in network fault monitoring.

3.Substation linkThe traditional power production control business in China has achieved stable operation based on optical fibers. However, with the development of the power Internet of Things and smart substations, the business presents the characteristics of large bandwidth, high reliability, and mobility. It is necessary to consider the introduction of reliable wireless communication methods. business access.

4.distribution networkThe main network has been covered by optical fibers, but the distribution network of the peripheral nerves of the power grid is still in a “blind tuning” state. Due to the huge number, the cost of full fiber coverage is high, the time is long, and the maintenance is difficult.

5.Electricity linkIn China, with the rapid development of large-scale distribution network automation, low-voltage centralized reading, distributed energy access, and user two-way interaction, the communication needs of various power grid equipment, power terminals, and electricity customers have exploded. The network construction cost is high and the service opening time is long, which cannot meet the needs of fast and flexible wide-area access.

02 5G empowers the power industry

5G can play an important role in all aspects of the power system

The characteristics of 5G are highly matched with the performance of the smart grid. For the power industry, 5G can promote the optimization and adjustment of the load characteristics of the power system and greatly improve the operating efficiency of the system.For example, 5G + smart grid can not only greatly reduce the average power outage time of users, but also effectively improve the reliability of power supply and management efficiency. At the same time, it can greatly enrich and expand the application scenarios of the power grid, reduce costs and increase efficiency, and help the power grid transform into an integrated energy service provider.

Specifically, 5G can bring more flexible and economical, more secure, reliable and low-latency deterministic network communication services to the new power system. All aspects of emergency communication play an important role.

1. In the power generation link, the low latency and large connection characteristics of the 5G network can realize real-time interaction of module data such as power plant distributed energy storage regulation capability assessment, power generation forecast, and station operation analysis.In addition, power plant equipment sensors and high-definition camera video data can be transmitted to cloud platforms or local edge computing platforms through 5G large bandwidth capabilities, enabling applications such as unmanned inspections in plant areas and machine vision video security.

2. In the power transmission link, the use of the large bandwidth and high reliability of the 5G network can realize the refined and large-scale inspection of UAVs in overhead transmission lines.Using the low-latency characteristics of 5G networks, it is possible to accurately control the underground transmission line corridor tunnel robots in real time, and realize grounding circulation monitoring.

3. In the substation link, by connecting video surveillance cameras, environmental sensors and other equipment to the 5G network, real-time monitoring of equipment such as transformers and switch cabinets in the station can be realized, and equipment faults can be found and eliminated in time.

4. In the power distribution link, the 5G network can effectively meet the needs of wide distribution of power distribution terminals, many collection points, and high security requirements., Utilizing the high reliability and low delay characteristics of 5G network, it can realize applications such as differential protection of distribution network, automatic three remotes, precise load control, comprehensive monitoring of distribution station equipment and production safety, and ensure the safety of distribution operations.

5. In the power consumption link, the use of 5G network can realize high-frequency acquisition and monitoring of power quality of important customers, solve the cost problem of power operation monitoring, and help realize the large-scale deployment of high-frequency monitoring of power quality.At the same time, the data interaction between the charging pile and the management platform can be realized through the 5G network to promote the optimization of electricity consumption.

03 Main application scenarios

At present, the application of 5G in the power industry includes four major business scenarios:Control services, acquisition services, mobile application services, and multi-station integration services.

In the control business, 5G can optimize energy allocation, avoid large-scale power outages that affect enterprises and residents, and at the same time meet the online monitoring of real-time dynamic data of the distribution network; in the collection business, 5G can promote the collection and provision of the original power consumption of the entire system Information; in mobile services, 5G can prevent safety accidents and environmental pollution, reduce the workload of manual inspections, and try live operations in the future; in multi-station integration services, 5G technology will promote the construction of platform-based and shared enterprises.

Precise load control

Precise load control technology means that when multiple DCs are fed into the power grid with multiple DC continuous commutation failures and faults resulting in DC blockage, a substantial shortage of active power in the receiving end grid, and a sharp drop in frequency, the distributed massive power can be precisely controlled according to the magnitude of the DC power loss. user interruptible load, to realize the friendly interaction between the power grid, the power supply and the load, to achieve the instantaneous balance of power supply and demand, to support the optimal allocation of energy sources, to avoid the occurrence of large-scale power outages, to minimize power grid losses, and to minimize the impact on electricity consumption of enterprises and residents. .

The less the delay of the entire group of the precise load control system, the faster the recovery of power grid faults.Therefore, the lower the delay to the communication, the better. Among the requirements for communication, emphasis is placed on delay, availability, security, and reliability. The precise load control system based on 5G communication network is constructed by business terminal, demand response terminal, communication network and master station system. Among them, the service terminal is connected to the building response terminal through the local network, and the demand response terminal is connected to the main station of the demand response system through the 5G communication network.

Distribution network differential protection service

As a power grid technology that is maturely applied in high-voltage transmission network, the differential protection technology of distribution network can solve many problems caused by the access of distributed power to the distribution network. The principle is that the power distribution differential protection terminal compares the current value (vector) of two or more terminals at the same time. When the current difference exceeds the set value, it is judged that a fault has occurred, and the circuit breaker or switch is disconnected, and the differential protection action is performed. Thereby, the precise location and isolation of distribution network faults are realized.

The 5G+ distribution network differential protection monitors the real-time current values ​​of the nodes at both ends of the distribution line through 5G industrial-grade timing CPE and 5G+ distribution network differential protection terminals, and performs interactive comparison to determine whether the connection line is faulty.Once a fault is found, quickly locate and cut off the faulty line, complete fault isolation, and avoid chain reactions. At the same time, the backup line can be started in real time, and fault recovery can be realized through line switching.

Intelligent inspection and safety monitoring of transmission lines

The traditional inspection of power transmission lines is a manual method, which requires specially equipped electric personnel to regularly inspect the line and equipment operation on site. However, the traditional inspection method is that some construction sites are dangerous and difficult to inspect, such as high-voltage transmission lines in the field. Periodic inspection of physical characteristics is required. Generally, the length of the line between two towers is 200 to 500 meters, and the inspection range is several kilometers long. Second, there are problems such as low efficiency and uncertainty in manual operation. Therefore, manual inspection is gradually replaced by intelligent inspection methods such as drones and robots.

The current intelligent inspection equipment is connected to the 5G network through the embedded 5G module or 5G CPE and other gateway equipment, and the inspection site data collected by the cameras and sensors on the equipment is transmitted back to the edge cloud platform in real time through the 5G network, and the edge cloud The platform’s image recognition, deep learning and other intelligent technologies and algorithm processing can comprehensively judge the inspection results, replace manual on-site inspections, and realize unmanned and intelligent inspections.

Multi-site integration service

The multi-station integration business makes full use of the substations, new energy stations, energy storage stations, electric vehicle charging stations, power supply business offices, pumped storage power stations and other site environments to build data center stations of different levels and application scenarios.The data center station provides local storage and edge computing capabilities for substation data. Network edge computing is an extension of cloud computing. By migrating the cloud computing platform and its capabilities to the network edge such as substations and new energy stations, it has the ability to support high bandwidth and low time. It provides stronger support functions for extension and localization business, and provides resource sharing services to the society.

Multi-station integration is to explore the use of substation resources to build and operate data center stations, 5G base stations, Beidou ground enhancement stations, charging piles, energy storage stations, etc. Promote power companies to build a sharing platform to better create value for the society.

04 Typical Case

In March 2020, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the National Development and Reform Commission issued the “Notice on Organizing and Implementing New Infrastructure Projects in 2020 (Broadband Networks and 5G Fields)”, clearly proposing to focus on supporting 5G innovative applications in seven major fields such as smart grids. The notice pointed out that in terms of the large-scale application of 5G new technologies for smart grids, the research and development of 5G end-to-end network slicing and resource scheduling systems will be carried out based on the new 5G network architecture and smart grid scenarios.

Driven by national policies, various places have proposed 5G smart grid construction plans. As the leader and leader of 5G smart grid technology research and engineering practice, power grid companies have carried out extensive 5G business research and application practices, including 5G smart grid assumptions, control services such as distribution network differential protection, and mobile inspection services. such as video interaction.

State Grid

State Grid actively cooperates with operators such as China Unicom and China Telecom, and carries out application solutions such as information collection, intelligent inspection, intelligent monitoring, and comprehensive management based on the “5G+” thinking innovation.

5G virtual measurementOn the one hand, State Grid Beijing Electric Power Company cooperated with China Unicom and China Electric Power Research Institute to carry out the construction of the “5G virtual measurement and leveling” project in Beijing, realizing the application of production site monitoring scenarios. The power consumption is monitored through 5G virtual measurement and leveling, and the power quality is monitored at a sampling rate of 12.8K. Using the technical characteristics of 5G, the analysis part of the instrument is deployed in the cloud, and only the acquisition device is retained at the front end, which solves the problems of complex functions and high cost of traditional acquisition devices, and reduces the cost of instrument equipment by 90%. It effectively solves the industrial problem of power operation monitoring cost, and effectively promotes the large-scale deployment of power quality monitoring. It has been widely used in the service trade fair, Shijingshan, and Yanqing Winter Olympics test competitions.

5G+Beidou intelligent inspectionOn the other hand, in February 2021, State Grid cooperated with China Telecom to carry out the construction of the “5G + Beidou Intelligent Inspection UAV” project in Qingdao, Shandong Province, realizing the application of unmanned intelligent inspection scenarios. The project builds a new 5G independent network (SA) network, completes the research and development of the image transmission module of the 5G SA private network, introduces Beidou service, realizes the safe, real-time and reliable return of UAV inspection data, and solves the traditional transmission and transformation line inspection consumption. The problems of long time, high labor consumption and harsh working environment can improve the working environment of front-line workers and greatly reduce safety risks. At the same time, the use of image intelligent recognition technology realizes the functions of UAV autonomous inspection, real-time image transmission, intelligent defect recognition, auxiliary decision-making output, etc., which solves the problems of difficult operation, difficult back transmission, and difficult analysis that plague UAV inspection. The large-size defect recognition accuracy rate is 99%, and the small-size defect recognition accuracy rate is 40%, and the work efficiency is increased by more than 100 times.

5G power virtual private network integrated management levelingOn the other hand, in May 2021, State Grid Zhejiang Electric Power Co., Ltd. launched the country’s first 5G power virtual private network integrated management and integration, realizing SIM card management, 5G terminal management, 5G user plane core network equipment management and network monitoring in the power grid industry. Integration and comprehensive application of other functions. In order to meet the needs of agile response and precise control of power dispatching and power grid balance to the massive resources of source, network, load and storage, State Grid Zhejiang Electric Power has carried out a demonstration of 5G public power grid applications. Based on the operator’s 5G public network, advanced technologies such as network slicing and edge computing are used. Create a safe and reliable 5G power virtual private network. The comprehensive management of 5G power virtual private network is an important means for electric power companies to realize the visibility and management of 5G power virtual private network resources. It is of great significance for opponents to ensure the reliability and security of 5G public network power services.

China Southern Power Grid

In August 2022, China Southern Power Grid’s 5G smart grid project was successfully selected as one of the top ten 5G application cases at the 2022 World 5G Conference. Since 2018, the project has promoted the integrated development of 5G and digital power grids from the aspects of top-level design of power 5G virtual private network, key technology research and development, technical verification, industry standard and enterprise standard, safety demonstration, and business implementation. It proposes 5G high-precision timing, virtual Private network end-to-end resource guarantee, 5G LAN transparent transmission, 1% PRB resource reservation, 5G slice resource self-management and other technologies have comprehensively incubated and verified 54 business scenarios, covering power generation, transmission, transformation, distribution, use, and integration. 24 key scenarios for large-scale application have been formed, and more than 6,000 5G terminals have been launched. In the second half of 2022, the application results of the 5G+ digital power grid demonstration area will be replicated and extended to 9 cities including Dongguan, Zhuhai, Jiangmen, Zhanjiang, Maoming, Shantou, Chaozhou, Qingyuan, Yunfu, etc. The depth and breadth of the integration of 5G technology and power scenarios will reach new levels.

At present, the project has completed the industry’s first 5G accurate timing function verification based on the R16 standard, the first wide-area power 5G slicing virtual private network is launched, the first differential protection service based on the existing power network has been put into operation, and the industry’s first support has been released. High-precision timing CPE terminal. In terms of standards, the project has incubated more than 20 proposals for 3GPP international standards and a series of 5G application enterprise standards from China Southern Power Grid. In terms of business applications, the project has completed end-to-end 54 scenarios of 54 5G services on the existing network. Terminal commercial verification, including 24 key scenarios, and more than 6,000 5G terminals.

05 Development Outlook

Although the application of 5G in the power industry still faces many problems, such as security and power business adaptation still need to be verified, the balance between commercial value and cost has yet to be explored, and the business model of some businesses needs to be further clarified. According to Deloitte estimates, in 2026, 5G will bring a digital market size of 250 billion US dollars to the energy industry.

In the short term, the use of 5G to replace the original wireless system or wired network will become the main application type of 5G + smart power development. In the power transmission and transformation links, new operation and maintenance applications represented by 5G drones/robot inspections will support the upgrading of monitoring, operation, and security to intelligence, visualization, and high-definition. Applications such as power charging piles and power quality monitoring in the power consumption link have been gradually put into use, and this type of business can be replicated and promoted in a short period of time.

Control businesses such as power distribution automation in the power distribution link are currently in the stage of exploration and verification due to their high safety and reliability requirements. In the long run, with the full coverage of 5G SA networks and the continuous evolution and improvement of technical standards, Integrated and transformative applications such as precise load control and distribution network differential protection will fully empower the smart grid, and the deep integration of power core control services will comprehensively improve the accuracy of control services.


1. “Institute of Information and Communications Technology, White Paper on 5G Application Innovation and Development”

2. “5G Electric Power Virtual Private Network Network Security White Paper”

3. “Deloitte, 5G Empowers Future Electricity”

4. “Institute of Information and Communications Technology, Research on the Application Development of 5G-based Energy and Power Industry”

Editor: Huang Fei

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