PRESS RELEASE: State Grid, China Unicom, and Huawei reported their achievement of 10,000 5G reduced capability (RedCap) terminal deployments in Shandong, China and announced a new plan to increase 5G connections in smart grids to 300,000 throughout the province. The extensive application of 5G RedCap has enabled State Grid Shandong to implement six 5G smart grid applications, including distributed photovoltaics (PV) access, automated distribution, and power consumption data collection. This is enabling smart grids to realize simple, reliable, and cost-effective 5G applications, setting a benchmark for 5G expansion in China’s electric power sector.

To help achieve carbon peak and neutrality goals and adapt to transforming energy mixes, new electric power services, and new market trends, the electric power sector is looking to improve the bandwidth, frequency, and safety of data collection services. 5G supports the huge bandwidth, low latency, and massive connections required by diverse electric power services and is an essential part of the communication networks of new electric power systems. However, the high cost of chips and modules prevented State Grid Shandong from expanding the use of 5G in its diverse operations.

In May 2023, State Grid Shandong worked with China Unicom, State Grid’s NARI Technology, and Huawei on a pilot project based on 5G private networks, RedCap, and deterministic network slicing in Laiwu District, Jinan. The results showed 5G RedCap can enable cost-effective electric power applications on a large scale. To date, RedCap has been verified for six applications, including electric power consumption data collection, distributed PV access, and converged power distribution terminals, with 10,000 connected devices. This has encouraged State Grid Shandong to increase the number of 5G electric power service terminals to 300,000 in its grids by June 2024. 150,000 of these will be based on RedCap. 5G RedCap provides a cost-effective way to scale up 5G electric power applications in a short period of time, facilitating electric power transformation.

State Grid Shandong will continue to work with China Unicom, Huawei, and other industry partners to promote 5G chip module maturity and develop cost-effective solutions to bring 5G to more electric power services.