Smart Grid, Smart City program underway after agreement signed


George Maltabarow,
Managing Director,
Sydney, Australia — (METERING.COM) — October 12, 2010 – The funding agreement was signed last week for Australia’s Smart Grid, Smart City project, which will lead to the development of the country’s first commercial scale smart grid.

The project, to which the government has committed up to Au$100 million (US$98 million), is being undertaken by a consortium led by Energy Australia across five sites in the Hunter and Sydney, with the focal point in Newcastle and smaller trial elements in Newington, the Sydney CBD, Ku-ring-gai and Scone.

“This is a pivotal time for electricity networks in Australia,” commented EnergyAustralia managing director George Maltabarow. “Building a commercial scale demonstration will be a national and international showcase of what is possible in the future – for both electricity networks and households.”
The first steps of the Smart Grid Smart City demonstration have involved finalizing detailed planning as well as rolling out a two-way communications network and 12,000 smart sensors on the electricity network. The company also has acquired 7 MHz of spectrum from Wireless Broadband Australia to build a machine-to-machine communications network to transmit information between field devices, back-end systems and households.
The three-year Smart Grid Smart City demonstration includes:

  • Rolling out up to 50,000 smart meters to homes across the five sites in Sydney and the Hunter
  • Trialing in-home displays and products at 20,000 homes, including at 2,000 “smart homes” where households will be able to turn appliances on and off remotely using websites and iPhones
  • Battery storage trials in households in Scone, Newcastle and Newington – local homes with solar power will participate, with battery storage installed to help power local streets
  • Virtual power station trials – local homes in Newcastle and Scone will be asked to participate to have new ceramic fuel cells installed at homes. A total of 25 fuel cells and 5 wind turbines will be installed on the grid and at homes to test distributed generation
  • Installing 12,000 smart sensors across EnergyAustralia’s network to allow better monitoring of the network and faster responses to power interruptions
  • Electric car trials using 20 vehicles – 50 standard charging points and eight fast charging points will be built to test charging from multiple locations on the grid.
  • Building a two-way communications network to transmit information between smart devices.

Last week IBM Australia announced that it had been selected as the systems integration partner on the project. Under the agreement, IBM will build on its existing work on EnergyAustralia’s smart grid program to deliver distributed generation, smart metering and demand management solutions.

Other members of the EnergyAustralia consortium include GE Energy Australia, AGL Energy, Sydney Water, Hunter Water and Newcastle City Council.