Australia’s Smart Grid, Smart City projects getting under way


Paul Myors,
Sydney, Australia — (METERING.COM) — December 12, 2011 – The energy storage component of Australia’s Smart Grid, Smart City project is getting underway with up to 16 volunteer household properties currently being sought in the Scone area of Sydney.

In the two-year trial these households will have up to 20 storage units installed, with the aim of testing this technology in concentration to make power supply more reliable, reduce peaks in energy demand and lower household electricity bills.

“For the first part of the trial, the units will draw power from the grid, store it, and send it back to the electricity network so we can examine the technical impacts of adding these batteries to the grid,” explained Ausgrid’s energy efficiency expert Paul Myors, “During the last stage of the trial residents taking part can choose to use the electricity stored in the battery to power their own properties to see if it helps lower their electricity bills.”

The units will also be tested with other technology, including a grid controller, to form a microgrid and help power the local homes during power interruptions.

The 5 kW energy storage units, locally manufactured by the company RedFlow Limited, are the size of a slim-line fridge and would be installed outside, near a meter board on the property.
In other aspects of Smart Grid, Smart City initiative, a fleet of 20 Mitsubishi’s iMiEV electric vehicles are being tested across the Hunter and Sydney to assess their impact on the grid and issues such as how to best bill drivers for the power their car uses, car battery performance for different driving conditions, and the charging behavior of drivers. A total of 56 charging stations are being installed, including 50 standard charge spots as well as six fast charge spots located to enable longer distance travelling.

A start has also been made with installation of advanced smart meters at up to 15,000 homes, as part of new technology and pricing trials that will be offered to at least 30,000 households in Sydney and the Hunter next year to test whether they make the grid more efficient and reduce household power bills. Participating households will also have access to websites to help them turn appliances on and off remotely, smart phone apps to monitor household energy use, costs and greenhouse gas emissions, and in-home displays to help track energy use and identify energy guzzling appliances.