Australian smart grid trial in the works



Power lines

Credit: Marcus Wong/Wikimedia

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A new government program, the $100 million National Energy Efficiency Initiative: Smart Grid, Smart City, is expected to accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy by encouraging innovative smart grid technology.

Minister for the Environment Peter Garrett said the up-and-coming initiative was an exciting and important step in transforming the way Australian homes and businesses use, save and store energy.

"The Rudd Government is providing $100 million to trial a large-scale smart grid and smart meters project to demonstrate best practice, shape government policy and help industry and consumers realise the benefits of smart grids," he said.

"Smart grids employ a mix of innovative technologies, such as smart meters and sensors, which all work together to make the most of every bit of power we generate and use...They allow power companies to manage peak loads better, 'even out' electricity supply, and identify and fix faults faster."

Smart grids use digital technology to deliver electricity efficiently, in order to save energy and increase reliability of the power supply. The technology can help consumers make informed choices about energy use, Garrett said, and ultimately help reduce energy bills while making homes more energy efficient.

Industry and community groups last week discussed options and opportunities under the initiative, as one of the first steps in the trial's pre-deployment study.

"Stakeholders recognise that smart grids are new territory, and are discussing what it will mean for customers, how it will shape the future of the national energy grid, and how the trial will potentially enable a whole raft of innovations and initiatives," Garrett said.

Further announcements will be made about the Smart Grid, Smart City trial over the coming months.