Is FPGA-Based Smart Grid Monitoring a Smart Choice for Electric Utilities?

FPGA is helping utilities cater to the necessity of transforming conventional grids into smart grids that use sensors and controllers to enhance flexibility, efficiency, stability, reliability, and safety. 

FREMONT, CA: The present power infrastructure needs an update for better efficiency, reliability, and safety. Utilities have risen to this challenge, promising to solve many problems with the smart grid. The smart grid makes electric grid control, automate and manage the growing demands of electricity, allowing two-way communication between the utility and the customers. A smart grid improves power quality, provides efficient transmission, quicker rerouting when outages occur, and reduces peak demand. Innovations are happening in this area to enhance the efficiency, economics, and sustainability of the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity.

Advancements in integrated circuits technology, sensors technology, and wireless communication have seen innovations in the use of wireless sensor networks for smart electricity grids. As these networks require effective integration, onboard processing, and less power consumption, Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) appear to be the perfect technology that provides an optimal balance between performance, requirements, and flexibility. FPGA gives the flexibility of reprogramming. The modular architecture of the FPGA-based remote monitoring system's primary function is sensing, processing, and communicating. This system consists of transducers, a signal-conditioning circuit to acquire the required parameters.      

FPGAs have evolved as a technology that strikes an optimal balance between processing power, energy requirements, and flexibility. Implementation of a remote monitoring system for smart grids using FPGA based wireless sensor network technology can help utilities enhance their performance. By implementing the sensor node in FPGA, even complicated tasks can be performed on a sensor node, and a dynamic configurable wireless sensor network system can be implemented. It will also help the utility companies to monitor and control the loads at peak hours so that the power can meet the demand of the consumers and not lead to any power wastage.   

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