Industry committed to smart grid in Australia


Sydney, Australia — (METERING.COM) — December 7, 2010 – Despite the many unknowns in Australia, including the regulatory environment, the consumer, and technologies, the industry is committed to progressing towards a smart grid, with each distributor at various stages of smart grid adoption.

This is the key finding from a survey conducted by Logica of 35 executives from the largest energy companies in Australia.

The survey revealed three key areas of focus for the industry, with a new regulatory framework seen as a key determinant of progress. Generators, distributors and retailers, constrained by present forward planning arrangements, will need some direction from the regulatory authorities in order to support the changes demanded by them. Strategy development was driven by regulatory determinations, making the government’s role pivotal.

A quarter of the industry reported that they have already developed their corporate smart grid strategy or were in the process of refining it. The balance of the industry is working on discreet projects that fit under a smart grid umbrella and these companies have plans to develop an overall strategy. All indicated that a smart grid was a business imperative and were committed to strategy development, despite the unknowns.

Respondents also identified investment as a crucial component in order to move forward. They expressed caution around preliminary investment, expressing their reluctance to invest in solutions without knowing the shape of the challenges they address. The disaggregation of the energy value chain was a key concern for some respondents as business case benefits would be spread amongst generators, distributors, and retailers, so therefore the question becomes “who makes the investment?”

“It is Logica’s view that the Australian energy market comprises of professional people who are eager to participate in the smart grid revolution,” states the survey report. “The industry needs continued widespread political will and the right economic model to succeed.”

Other industry challenges include the development and rollout of the technology and real time systems, workforce development and training, quantifying the smart grid business case, and education of the consumer.

The survey also found that most current funding in Australia is allocated for smart metering and communication trials, and as yet no respondents have a comprehensive smart grid budget.