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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Smart Grid, Smart City project to cost $100 million

Smart Grid, Smart City – Australia’s first commercial-scale smart grid will be based in Newcastle, New South Wales, at a cost of $100 million.

The Smart Grid, Smart City project is an Australian Government initiative to trial the use of ’smart grid’ technology to reduce the costs of running the electrical grid. EnergyAustralia is the preferred applicant under the Australian Government’s National Energy Efficiency Initiative – Smart Grid, Smart City and will be rolling out the trial in Newcastle, with smaller scale trials also being run in Newington, Sydney’s CBD, Ku-ring-gai and Scone.

The Australian Government through the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency has committed up to $100 million for the Smart Grid, Smart City trial in order to better inform future decisions by government, electricity providers, technology suppliers and consumers as Australia’s electricity demand grows and smart grids are adopted across Australia.

A smart grid is an electric grid system with two-way communications capability that allows electric utilities, as well as the commercial and residential facilities using electricity, to regulate electricity use based on both need and electricity availability. It optimizes electricity use and attempts to prevent system strains by making users aware of electricity habits, as well as alerting appliances and monitoring tools to off-peak and peak usage hours. As a result non-urgent electricity needs can be automatically scheduled for off-peak hours, while utilities can better manage their grid systems to meet public need and avoid brown-outs.

The Smart Grid, Smart City demonstration project will deploy a live, integrated, smart grid of commercial size and scope in the Newcastle area, with parts of the trial also conducted in Newington, Sydney’s CBD, Ku-ring-gai and Scone. The location of Smart Grid, Smart City will provide a reasonable representation of the wider grid to produce credible results that can inform . The demonstration area includes urban, suburban, and rural areas and contains diverse network, geographic, climatic and customer characteristics.

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