UTC Foundation Grant to UCLA Will Examine How 5G Services Can Benefit Grid Modernization

Washington, DC

Posted on: May 15, 2018

The UTC Foundation awarded a $7,500 grant to the UCLA Smart Grid Energy Research Center (SMERC) to help fund research into how new communications technologies could benefit the energy sector. The Foundation announced the grant during last week's annual UTC Telecom & Technology meeting in Palm Springs, Calif.

Electric utilities use Information and Communications Technology (ICT) networks to underpin the transmission and distribution infrastructure responsible for safely delivering reliable electricity across the country. These ICT networks are essential for day-to-day reliability, situational awareness, storm response, cyber and physical security, and grid modernization.

The UCLA SMERC project seeks to examine whether new 5G wireless communications systems and services can assist utilities in grid modernization, smart-grid development, microgrids, and the integration of new technologies such as battery storage and rooftop solar. With the ability to provide higher speeds and greater connectivity than 3G and 4G wireless technologies, 5G systems offer tremendous promise to energy and electric utility firms.

The UTC Foundation grant will assist UCLA as its assembles students, researchers, and professors to explore and develop a set of recommendations for how 5G technology could be used in the energy sector. The Foundation's central mission is to encourage students to consider careers in the energy and utility industries. By partnering with universities, the UTC Foundation can reach out directly with the next generation of the utility workforce.

Recognizing the key role telecommunications networks play in electric reliability and the deployment of distributed energy resources, the SMERC project personifies what the UTC Foundation is all about, said UTC Foundation Chairman Connie Allen of Motorola Solutions.

"This project cuts to the heart of what utilities are doing in harnessing new technologies to better serve their customers," Ms. Allen said. "New 5G services could greatly enhance these products and services, so we are thrilled to work with UCLA on this effort. We are impressed by the cutting-edge research UCLA's SMERC team performs on a daily basis and look forward to seeing the end result."

This marks the second grant awarded by the UTC Foundation since its late 2016 inception. Last year the Foundation awarded its inaugural grant to UNC Charlotte's Energy Production and Infrastructure Center.