Stefano Galli, Anna Scaglione, and Zhifang Wang have authored what is considered the most complete review of power line communications (PLC) technology published to date, detailing its usage in the development of smart grids. The paper, which appeared in the June 2011 issue of the Proceedings of the IEEE (vol. 99, no. 6, pp. 998–1027), has quickly become a key reference document for the application of PLC technology in smart grids. PLC involves sending and receiving data over the existing electrical wires of the power distribution grid. With the emergence of smart grids utilizing remote sensing, communication, control, monitoring, and analysis for more efficient power grid operation, PLC technology has the potential to play a larger role than traditional automatic meter reading. The paper details the complex role of communications within smart grids and provides readers with accurate information on the history of and latest advances in PLC methods to address the roles for which PLC may be best suited.
Dr. Wang is an IEEE Senior Member and Assistant Professor with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia.