In Australia, state governments and utilities have invested billions of dollars in electricity infrastructure. Estimates indicate that the adoption of smart grid technologies could save the nation A$5 – 8 billion over the next 20 years. Yet far too many of those technologies remain on the shelf. Some of the barriers are technical, such as the need for testing and standards. Some of them are regulatory, such as the need for policies that no longer penalise utilities for trying new technologies.

A whole-of-government as well as a whole-of industry approach is required to address the issues.

SMART GRID AUSTRALIA VISION STATEMENT

  • The coming decade will be defined by a rampant growth in new Intelligent Energy technologies, just as computers and communications devices have defined the recent past. Making our energy systems “smart” holds the key to protecting our planet and to fueling our global economy
  • Innovative approaches to deliver energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly processes and products will be enabled by the application of information systems to production, logistics, product design, transport, consumption and many other aspects of our day-to-day activities
  • Empower the user to actively participate in this process, through a range of interactive intelligent home appliances, allowing them to save energy and assisting them in addressing the inevitable price increases for electricity.

WHAT IS SMART GRID AUSTRALIA?

  • A vision for the electric system of the future – based on sound technical, operational and environmental principles
  • A national initiative to help address the environmental issues in relation to the power industry and make that vision a reality by transforming the infrastructure, technologies and the market
  • An alliance to move that initiative forward, to join voices in favour of a fully modern intelligent electric system
  • An opportunity to participate in an important new market that will revolutionise how electricity is produced, delivered, and used.

Smart Grid Australia is a breakthrough strategy for transforming the nation’s electric power grid with advanced communications, automated controls, and other forms of information technology. This new grid will incorporate such things as:

  • Intelligent communications networks
  • Digital sensors and controls for remote monitoring and operation
  • Tools for grid planning, design and operation to simulate, plan and automate complex transmission and distribution operations
  • Better ways to connect next-generation equipment such as advanced storage, improved transformers, and superconducting wires
  • Advanced meters to collect usage data electronically and automatically
  • Load management/demand response technologies that help reduce peaks in electric demand and thereby reduce the need for standby power plants
  • Smart devices ranging from motors to HVAC systems (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning) to home appliances with embedded intelligence which will empower end-users to actively participate in this process.
A New Organisation
Smart Grid Australia is a non-profit, non-partisan industry association dedicated to an enhanced, modernised electric system. This alliance holds meetings, organises committees, assists with government initiatives, and issues communications to accelerate progress. It can be an important source of ideas, inspiration, and influence for any organisation interested in this burgeoning sector.

SMART GRID AUSTRALIA ASSOCIATION – MEMBERS
The Smart Grid Australia Association is a meeting ground for different constituencies, and, therefore, a forum for important and necessary dialogues that might otherwise not occur. The stakeholder groups include:

  • Electric utilities committed to higher reliability and lower costs
  • Telcos building intelligent communications networks
  • Vendors selling the equipment, software, and services that support the electric power system
  • Energy investors seeking to understand where the market is headed and where the opportunities lie
  • Federal, state, and municipal agencies who oversee the electric power system
  • Research organisations building the technologies of tomorrow
  • Non-profit organisations committed to a cleaner, safer, more efficient energy future.

Within the association there are workgroups involved in various activities. These operate on a ‘needs’ basis and can include both full members and associate members.

SMART GRID AUSTRALIA ASSOCIATION – ACTIVITIES
Key issues that are addressed in these groups include:

  • Meetings with key legislators and regulators – lobbying and educating politicians, bureaucrats and their advisors on smart grids (ICT solutions)
  • Business opportunities (commercialisation of new products and services through products and services models) – including corporate customers, wholesalers, etc)
  • Exploring and negotiating government subsidies (for example, for regional roll-outs)
  • Regulatory issues (a key issue as seen by the utilities)
  • Spotlighting, exploring and investigating new grid technologies for dissemination throughout the group
  • Member planning and networking meetings
  • Working committees on policies, standards, and architectures
  • Information streams on the latest technical, regulatory, and member happenings

Membership benefits

  • Help an important cause. The association is involved in nothing less than the transformation of the energy system.
  • Amplify your reach and influence. By joining voices with other interested organisations, you increase your impact.
  • Grow the market. The alliance addresses regulatory and policy barriers that are holding back the market. It also works to establish standards, test beds, and demo opportunities for members and the market at large, and performs other activities that advance the interests of members.
  • Get early access to information and opportunities through networking, email news, roundtables, and collaboration.
  • Demonstrate your leadership and raise your national visibility through opportunities to serve on national committees, influence policy recommendations, and provide thought leadership.
  • International alliances Smart Grid Australia has already established working relationships with sister organisation in the USA (GridWise) and Europe.