EnergyAustralia Wins $100M Smart Grid, Smart City Project  

Posted by Big Gav in , ,

Greentech Media has an article on a new smart grid demonstration project in Newcastle NSW - EnergyAustralia Wins $100M Smart Grid, Smart City Project. The Newcastle Herald has more.

The Australian government has announced that the country's largest energy supplier and retailer, EnergyAustralia, will lead a $100 million "Smart Grid, Smart City" project in the state of New South Wales that will begin later this year. The project will be a little bit of everything when it comes to smart grid, from substation automation and charging stations for electric vehicles to home area networks and time-of-use pricing.

The focus for this demonstration will not be world-renowned Sydney, but rather the small city of Newcastle, about 100 miles to the north. The consortium led by EnergyAustralia also includes IBM Australia, AGL, GE Energy, TransGrid, Newcastle City Council and the NSW Government.

Although Newcastle is the center point of the project, there will also be trials in Scone, downtown Sydney, Ku-ring-gai and Newington. There will be a total of 50,000 smart meters and about 15,000 homes that will be given in-home energy management systems to track electricity, water use and CO2 emissions.

"These homes will test remote control of appliances, including air conditioners, and innovative pricing packages to help reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions," said George Maltabarow, Managing Director for EnergyAustralia. "Winning the Smart Grid, Smart Cities bid is an exciting opportunity to expand our smart grid rollout even further, at a much faster rate and on a greater scale than we've seen."

About 200,000 EnergyAustralia customers with first-generation smart meters already have time-of-use pricing.

Some homes in the project will also have battery storage trials to help power local streets and there will also be battery storage trials and EV charging stations in Sydney's downtown business district.

The trial will also include updates to the grid itself, including 12,000 smart meter sensors that will allow for faster fault detection and self-correction in some places. EnergyAustralia is using 4G for a communications network on the grid; however, the project also will look at opportunities to use broadband for smart grid projects as part of the country's planned National Broadband Network, which will bring fiber optic cable to 90 percent of homes Down Under.

But this will not be broadband's first foray into smart grid in Australia. GridNet, which champions WiMax, and its partner General Electric signed a deal last year with the Australian utility SP AusNet. The utility plans to use the next-generation wireless technology to link about 680,000 household customers with smart meters. Future uses of that grid could include linking distribution grid sensors and controls, rooftop solar panel monitors, "smart charging" systems for plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles, and a host of other smart grid applications.

The country also already has one of the first energy and communications bundling project (at least known to Greentech Media) down in its capital territory, ACT.

While any one of these trials on its own is not novel, the convergence of metering, grid automation and EV integration and battery trials is more than many other utilities are taking on all at once (although the impending arrival of EVs later this year may force them to do so).

Techrati reports that smart meter penetration across the Asia-Pacific region is expected to reach 25% over the next 5 years - Smart meter penetration in Asia-Pacific will reach 25 percent by 2015, says Berg Insight.
According to a new research report from the analyst firm Berg Insight, the installed base of smart electricity meters in Asia-Pacific will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 91.0 percent between 2009 and 2015, to reach 116.5 million at the end of the period. ...

“Asia-Pacific is the fastest growing market for smart metering solutions in the world”, said Tobias Ryberg, Senior Analyst, Berg Insight. “South Korea has begun the construction of a nationwide smart grid where intelligent energy meters constitute the basic building-block. Japan’s two largest power utilities have announced plans for full-scale smart meter deployments in this decade and China is preparing a nationwide rollout within three to five years.” Altogether the three countries have an installed base of more than 360 million electricity meters today, with an annual growth rate of 3–5 percent.

Australia and New Zealand commenced with massive installations of smart meters at the end of the last decade. Victoria will become the first Australian state to achieve full penetration by 2013. Mandatory rollouts are also being considered in other territories such as New South Wales. In New Zealand, the adoption of smart metering is driven by the energy industry. While many other countries have introduced regulations for the new technology, New Zealand’s government has decided not to interfere with the process.


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