Right smart meter deployment model essential for Australia


Martin Ferguson,
Minister for Resources
and Energy
Canberra, Australia — (METERING.COM) — January 12, 2012 – Smart meters can lead to greater efficiencies in network management and underpin more competitive market outcomes, as well as provide opportunity for consumers to have a greater say in their energy choices, and finding the right deployment model for Australia is essential, according to the country’s new draft Energy White Paper.

So far Victoria is also the only state to mandate a statewide rollout of smart meters, and other jurisdictions will look to the lessons learned from the state in assessing whether to follow suit.

The draft White Paper is aimed to set out a policy framework for the development of Australia’s energy sector to 2030 and beyond.

The paper identifies key challenges as managing the growth in peak demand and improving energy productivity, and bringing new technologies to market. It identifies four priority actions:

  • Strengthening the resilience of Australia’s energy policy framework through regular assessment of key policy settings
  • Reinvigorating the energy market reform agenda, with a focus in the next stage on improving the productivity and operation of energy markets, ensuring that appropriate incentives are in place to support efficient network and supply investment outcomes, and providing consumers with a more accessible and comprehensive range of options to manage their energy use
  • Developing Australia’s critical energy resources, particularly the gas resources
  • Accelerating clean energy outcomes, including the deployment of renewable energy.

The White Paper notes that a large and sustained level of investment will be required in Australia’s energy sector in the period to 2030 and beyond, in order to provide reliability of supply to meet energy security needs while also supporting the transition to clean energy. The amount is estimated at around Au$240 billion (US$247 billion) in new generation and the transmission and distribution networks by 2030 and a total of around $200 billion (US$206 billion) in new generation by 2050, approximately half of which would be on renewables.

“We need sound regulatory frameworks and confidence from investors to ensure that the necessary investment is delivered, and the White Paper seeks to deliver this stable framework,” commented minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson.

The proposed smart meter deployment framework, which is currently under development, will promote a minimum level of national consistency and provide a basic level of functionality, as well as set out the required market structures to promote competition for service while maintaining appropriate consumer safeguards.

The draft White Paper is under consultation until March 16, after which it will be finalized.