The need for an intelligent power grid has become obvious in recent years. But without standards, interoperability and efficiency suffers. To overcome these barriers the G3-PLC specification was released by ERDF (Electricité Réseau Distribution France) in 2009 as part of an international initiative to standardize around a single communication technology. Since the publication of the first comparative performance results against other powerline communications (PLC) technologies at the Metering Europe 2009 conference in Barcelona, the G3-PLC has been of interest to many utilities, standards bodies and other stakeholders of the smart grid. The programme to test and analyze the new protocol and modem was of such interest that ERDF and the original developers decided in early 2011 to support and expand the movement by creating the G3-PLC Alliance.

Just as with other reputable communications standards, this Alliance has been created in order to drive widespread adoption of G3-PLC by enabling rapid development up and down the entire electric power ecosystem. The main goals of the Alliance are to: 

  • Promote G3-PLC technical features, performance, and overall value in internationally recognized standards organizations (IEEE, ITU, IEC, ISO, etc.)
  • Organize certification tests and programmes to insure interoperability
  • Support utilities in worldwide deployment of the G3-PLC communications protocol
  • Advance G3-PLC in other smart grid applications such as EV charging, home automation, solar, and lighting automation.

With representatives from the entire value chain of the smart grid industry, the Alliance’s steering committee comprises a good balance between vendors and distribution system operators (DSOs) as well as geographic regions – Asia, Europe and America. Industry leaders include EDF, ENEXIS, ERDF, MRSK, Maxim Integrated Products, STMicro, TI, Cisco, Itron, Landis+Gyr, Nexans, Sagemcom and Trialog, and the list is growing.

The Alliance currently focuses on activities in three areas: 

  • Support G3-PLC in international standards bodies to achieve rapid adoption
  • Develop framework for equipment testing to facilitate interoperability among G3-PLC equipment, especially the physical and MAC layers
  • Educate market and promote value, benefits and applications of G3-PLC.

As the G3-PLC standard gains momentum, we are encouraging all utilities, smart grid equipment suppliers and ecosystem companies to support this initiative to bring the vision of a truly harmonized smart grid to fruition.

For further information see www.g3-plc.com

Jean Vigneron, General Secretary,G3-PLC Alliance