Timing is everything – GNSS and the energy grids of the future

In the smart energy grids of the future, all energy market participants will communicate with each other, making energy supplies more reactive. This will bring many benefits, including reduced costs, improved efficiency and the seamless integration of the distribution of energy sources, including renewable energy. However, for smart grids to operate successfully they will have to be based on a solid and robust synchronisation infrastructure. This is where GNSS comes in.

Grid systems rely on GNSS clocks as a time reference source and atomic clocks as a backup in case of outages. GNSS receivers are comparably low-cost, reliable, high-precision timing sources that can be implemented in a large number in intelligent grids, to enable real-time automatic control of the grid.

“Due to the importance of the power system to our lives and economies, and the likelihood of future smart grid reliance on high-precision timing, it is critical that GNSS signals be resilient against interference,” said GSA Executive Director da Costa. “The accuracy and robustness of the Galileo service, and the added layer of protection that will be offered by the Open Service Navigation Message Authentication, means that Galileo will be the go-to solution for grid operators,” he said.

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