As the first major milestone and the fundamental step of the overall smart grid roadmap, an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) is a system that senses, collects and analyzes data on energy usage and power quality from smart meters, and communicates with metering devices on request or on schedule. In spite of many recent research activities on smart grid communication infrastructure, scalability and reliability of communication architectures in smart grid AMI are still not well-addressed yet, even though they are two of the most important issues in this field. These have seriously hampered the development and deployment of effective communication technologies to smart grid field. Moreover, there is still a critical gap in the knowledge base to understand the interactions and the tradeoffs of scalability and reliability, and to design the best performance metrics in smart grid AMI.
This project investigates the challenging issues of emerging communication network design in smart grid, and study scalability and reliability aspects and their interactions in AMI. The proposed research aims at analysis and design of scalable architectures for advanced metering infrastructures in the wide area network level, and designs reliable communications for energy efficient self-sustaining neighborhood area networks. The approaches include identifying and addressing the new challenges in the scalability and reliability design for smart grid communications with a large amount of data and different communication requirements, designing novel algorithms for optimal deployment of neighborhood area networks, and summarizing design strategies and principles for scalable and reliable end-to-end smart grid communications under various scenarios. This project introduces novel network design strategies and principles to achieve scalable and reliable network communication infrastructure that can handle a tremendous amount of AMI smart metering data in real-time. The research efforts conducted in this project will advance scientific understanding in the field of network communication infrastructure in smart grid, and have a significant impact on the design of scalable and reliable smart grid AMI systems. The outcomes of the project will foster the transition of our society into a more energy efficient and sustainable future. The project incorporates an education plan that engages underrepresented students.