Call for Articles: Visioneering the Private Networked Grid of the Future: How Do You See Private LTE Networks Shaping the Future of Utilities?

Posted to Energy Central in the Digital Utility Group
Audra Drazga's picture
Vice President of The Power Industry Network Energy Central

I am the VP of the Energy Central Power Industry Network.  In this role, I help to connect professionals in the power industry through the development and management of topic-specific community...

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  • Jul 15, 2020

This item is part of the LTE Networks & Utilities - Summer 2020 SPECIAL ISSUE, click here for more

Now that the Federal Communications Commission has approved the dedicated use of 900 MHz spectrum for private LTE wireless broadband networks and scheduled auctioning of the shared CBRS spectrum, the nation’s electric utilities have an unprecedented opportunity to accelerate and advance their grid modernization and resiliency programs.  

Grid modernization needs to encompass more than ripping and replacing – or making a quick fix to – existing infrastructure and traditional technologies. So, as utilities look beyond reactionary measures and explore what’s possible, they need to think holistically about modernization designed to address grid reliability, environmental concerns, investment concerns and numerous other opportunities to bring enhanced value to consumers.

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Smart grid discussions usually include emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Edge Computing, and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). These are important; however, utilities should begin to imagine what the grid of the future truly can be. Technologies of the future pave the way for utilities to redefine what electrical grids look like, how they react to external forces, how they interoperate with the grids managed by other companies and how they can interact with other regional utilities, such as gas and water companies.

 It’s time to envision and engineer - or “visioneer” - the future of technology empowered electrical grids. One area ripe for this visioneering is private LTE networks that can, not only, enable a path to greater security and reliability for utilities, but also “modernize” one of the most critical components of our nation’s infrastructure – the national power grid. 

The potential use for private LTE wireless broadband is wide-ranging, but the intent to apply it toward the advancement of public utilities may very well establish it as a foundational technology backbone for engineering a smarter, more connected, and more powerful electricity grid. This foundation also can potentially benefit communities, both big and small, across the country by helping to create secure communications networks that could support rural broadband, as well as wildfire mitigation, disaster assistance, and many other uses.

Through these private LTE wireless broadband networks, every utility has the chance to update their grids to be more secure, reliable, dynamic, and resilient and better equipped to meet the growing energy demands of tomorrow - whether that means being robust enough to handle the growth of electric vehicles or flexible enough to maximize energy from renewable sources, such as wind and solar.

What else can utilities do? The imagination is the only limit when it comes to visioneering the future of our national electric grid.

We’d like to hear from you about how you would “visioneer” the intersection of smart communications and smart grids, as well as all the benefits that will flow from the integration of the two.

Utility industry practitioners and thought leaders, we invite you to share your stories, ideas, and visions:

  • What could the grid of the future look like as a result of connecting the now localized Utility operations with possible regional opportunities and shared services.
  • Due to rapidly advancing emerging technologies, what will the future utility look like?
  • What abilities would private LTE wireless broadband networks bring to the grid that were previously impossible? 
  • What types of other opportunities surface when utilities invest in smart communications?
  • Where do you see the use of private LTE wireless broadband moving to next?
  • What benefits would utilities realize and what benefits would utilities’ customers experience from private LTE wireless broadband networks?
    • And how can the utilities – as a collective industry – organize and mobilize in a way that will allow them to capitalize on this opportunity?
  • How do leaders in the energy sector feel about private communications capabilities, and are there any industry specific culture issues that must be addressed first?

Instructions for Participation

Send your submissions to with the subject 'LTE 2020.' If you need feedback on your submission idea, feel free to send questions or even an abstract to the same email address (please note that if you submit an abstract for review, do so at least a week ahead of the submission due date and make note that it's an abstract in the subject line).

  • Abstract Due date: August 10th
  • Final submissions due date:  August 17th
  • Issue Deployment Date: August 27th

We're excited to read your insights!

Audra C Drazga

VP of the Power Industry Network


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