What? France is developing its own communications standard?

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By: SGN Staff

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By Jesse Berst

 

Quick Take: I confess to being very confused by the announcement of a new standards effort emanating from France. A consortium of French and Japanese firms is building its own powerline communications protocol.

 

Don't we already have a plethora of both proprietary and quasi-open powerline protocols operating in Italy, Sweden, Spain, America and elsewhere? Why spend years of time and tens of millions of dollars to reinvent those wheels?

 

Read the press release on Page 2. Unless I'm getting it wrong, France is setting up a situation to favor its own companies and those who agree to move their manufacturing to France. What's next – will the Netherlands have its own flavor? Maybe Greece and Cyprus should get in the act too. Perhaps Lichtenstein should spend three years to duplicate the wheel as well.

 

The group is also claiming that after they impose the new standard on France they will then turn it into an international standard. Hmmm – well, we know the English and Germans will reject it if it comes from France. So do they think that the U.S., China and Latin America will jump on the French bandwagon?

Perhaps I'm morphing into a conspiracy theorist in my old age, but this doesn't smell right. I'll be interested to read what you say in the Comment section at the bottom.

 

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Jesse Berst is the founder and chief analyst of Smart Grid News.com, the industry's oldest and largest smart grid site. A frequent keynoter at industry events in the U.S. and abroad, he also serves on advisory committees for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Institute for Electric Efficiency. He often provides strategic consulting to large corporations and venture-backed startups. He is a member of the advisory boards of GridGlo and Calico Energy Services.

Landis+Gyr partnering with ERDF to speed up the smart grid in France

Paris, 15 April 2013.- Landis+Gyr has joined the consortium created to develop SOGRID, an ambitious project which will support the deployment of the smart grid in France. The first of its kind at a global level, SOGRID is led by the French energy provider ERDF and the European semiconductor leader STMicroelectronics, and supported by ADEME, the French Environment and Energy Management Agency.

The consortium partners will work to develop a next-generation chip that will power the millions of devices connected to the grid, allowing them to communicate with each other. The overall ambition of SOGRID is to set an international standard in communication based on the power line communication protocol (PLC), which allows the transmission of digital data over the grid. This means transitioning from a few “smart” elements in the grid towards a total “smart grid”.

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The European Competence Center responsible for Landis+Gyr’s PLC communication protocol is based in France.

“We are proud to be part of this unprecedented and ambitious industrial project, which will put France at the forefront of smart grid deployment in Europe. Our collaboration is based on our 25 years of experience in smart metering and the expertise we have developed through the pilot project Linky. With SOGRID, we take a step forward in laying the foundations for the grid of tomorrow, which will be more intelligent, more flexible and, above all, geared to customers’ needs”, stated Christian Huguet, CEO of Landis+Gyr France.

In addition to SOGRID, Landis+Gyr France was one of the strategic suppliers of the pilot project Linky conducted by ERDF and which saw 300,000 smart meters successfully deployed in France by 2011. ERDF plans to deploy a total of 35 million smart meters in its domestic market by 2020.

Landis+Gyr’s production site in France is located in Montluçon and employs 130 people. Each year it produces more than 500,000 meters, including ERDF’s Linky meters, and it is ready to increase its production capacity to over 1 million per year as the Linky meters are fully deployed.

In 2012, the group relocated the European production of its receivers and transmitters to France. The site plans to produce 300,000 units in 2013.

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