An ICT Architecture for the Neighbourhood Area Network in the Smart Grid

  • Zoya Pourmirza

Student thesis: Phd


In planning for future electricity supplies certain issues will need to be considered such as increased energy usage, urbanisation, reduction in personnel, global warming and the conservation of natural resources. As the result, some countries have investigated the transformation of their existing power grid to the so-called Smart Grid. The Smart Grid has three main characteristics which are, to some degree, antagonistic. These characteristics are the provision of good power quality, energy cost reduction and improvement in the reliability of the grid. The need to ensure that they can be accomplished together demands much richer Information and Communications Technology (ICT) networks than the current systems available.In this research we have identified the gap in the current proposals for the ICT of the power grid. We have designed and developed an ICT architecture for the neighbourhood sub-Grid level of the electrical network, where monitoring at this level is very underdeveloped because most current grids are controlled centrally and the response of the neighbourhood area is not generally monitored or actively controlled. Our designed ICT architecture, which is based on established architectural principles, can incorporate data from heterogeneous sources. This layered architecture provides both the sensors that can directly measure the electrical activity of the network (e.g. voltage) and also the sensors that measure the environment (e.g. temperature) since these provide information that can be used to anticipate demand and improve control actions. Additionally, we have de-signed a visualisation tool as an interface for a grid operators to facilitate a better comprehension of the behaviour of the neighbourhood level of the Smart Grid.Since we have noticed that energy aware ICT is a prerequisite for an efficient Smart Grid, we have utilised two different approaches to tackle this issue. The first approach was to utilise a cluster-based communication technique for the second layer of the architecture, which comprises Wireless Sensor Networks, where energy limitation is the major problem. Accordingly, we have analysed the energy-aware topology for wireless sensor networks embedded in the mentioned layer. We provide evidence that the proposed topology will bring energy efficiency to the communication network of the Smart Grid. The second approach was to develop a data reduction algorithm to reduce the volume of data prior to data transmission. We demonstrated that our developed data reduction is suitable for Smart Grid applications which can keep the integrity and quality of data.Finally, the work presented in this thesis is based on a real project that is being implemented in the medium voltage power network of the University of Manchester where power grid instrumentation, real data and professionals in the field are available. Since the project is long-term and the environmental sensor networks in particular are not currently installed we have evaluated some of our predictions via simulation. However, where the instrumentation was available, we were able to compare our predictions and our simulations with actual experimental results.
Date of Award1 Aug 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorJohn Brooke (Supervisor)


  • Energy Aware Topology
  • Data Reduction
  • Neighbourhood Area Network
  • ICT Architecture
  • Smart Grid
  • Energy Efficient Communication

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