Satellite-based Data Collection Architecture for Virtual Power Plant Management in Rural Areas
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Smart grid is envisaged to be the next-generation electrical power grids and this is founded based on successfully building up smart grid communication networks that can support all identified smart grid functionalities. Despite a range of communication choices available, utilities still struggle with how to affordably and reliably extend their networks to 100% of their service territories, especially to remote locations. In all smart grid models, it is often emphasized that consumers play a vital role in electricity management of supply and demand, and are expected to be co-producers of electricity, so-called prosumers. As such, virtual power plants (VPPs) by interconnecting hundreds of prosumers are expected to be a new paradigm shift in smart grid systems to better utilize the distributed energy sources. However, efficient VPP management is of great challenge in rural areas that are beyond the reach of primary networks while requiring enormous data exchange. To provide connectivity in rural areas, this paper proposes a satellite-based smart grid communication architecture for the efficient VPP management that requires collecting data from prosumers forming the VPP. Also, a priority-based scheduling algorithm for different smart grid data types is proposed to improve the performance of delay-sensitive applications. Simulation results demonstrate that the satellite-based communications can be a viable solution as a mean of smart grid communications for VPPs.