[LINK] Australian Government $100M Smart Grid Project

Tom Worthington tom.worthington at tomw.net.au
Fri Oct 30 10:47:11 AEDT 2009

The Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts is
offering up to $100M for a Smart Grid, Smart City demonstration project.
There is a Media Release, set of Guidelines and a Pre-deployment report:

This is for networked sensors in an energy grid allowing finer control
of the system. This can be used to send price signals to optimise energy
use, particularly from renewable sources. It is usually claimed to
reduce costs to the consumer, but is more likely be used to force the
consumer to change their energy use habits.

A smart grid can be for any energy distribution system, but this project
appears to be limited to an electricity distribution network. It would
be useful to include two different energy sources, such as electricity
and gas, in the project to look for synergies.

It is claimed that data and results will be made available publicly over
the course of this project. However, smart grids provide data in real
time and so there would seem to be no reason why data from the project
should not be provided daily from the start date of the system. The
proposed lengthy delays in providing data have no technical
justification and appear to be the government planning to suppress any
bad news about the project, even before it starts.

The government appear to be using a similar process to the NBN
Taskforce, where an independent panel of experts is used to assess
proposals, rather than a conventional public service tender board.
Victorian electricity distributor SP AusNet appears to have a head start
having announced it will install 680,000 WiMax connected smart meters by
2013, with about 40,000 installed by mid 2010. Applications close 28
January 2010 and the date for the successful bidder to be announced is a
somewhat vague some time in 2010.

It should be noted that smart grids do not require a high speed fibre
optic broadband network. Only low data rates are needed and wireless
networks can be used as in the Victorian system. Smart grids may not
need to use the NBN.

I teach about smart grids in my Green ICT course and perhaps some of the
graduates will be involved in the project.

For a small downlaod of the executive summary and project links, see my

Tom Worthington FACS HLM, TomW Communications Pty Ltd. t: 0419496150
PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617, Australia  http://www.tomw.net.au
Adjunct Lecturer, The Australian National University t: 02 61255694
Computer Science http://cs.anu.edu.au/people.php?StaffID=140274

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