Electrical industry welcomes government partnership in building smart energy networks

Friday, 22 May, 2009

As the peak national body representing Australia’s electricity distribution and transmission networks, the Energy Network Association (ENA) welcomes the announcement of the National Energy Efficiency Initiative in Budget 2009 to build smarter, more efficient energy distribution networks.

ENA welcomes the government’s announcement that work will begin immediately on an implementation study which will also examine links between the National Broadband Network and the Ministerial Council on Energy's National Stakeholder Steering Committee (NSSC) on smart meters.

Smart networks are already being developed and operated by electricity networks in the United States and Europe. For example, the Obama administration has detailed plans to spend nearly US%4 billion to develop a smart, strong and secure electrical grid, by investing in smart grid technology development grants, smart grid storage, monitoring and technology viability. Furthermore, the US National Institute of Standards and Technology will be developing a framework for standards associated with Smart Grid systems and devices, which will have implications for the use of international smart grid related Standards in Australia.

The experience learned from overseas shows that electricity network companies will play a crucial role in the way energy is produced, delivered and consumed in Australia’s transition to a low carbon economy.

In Australia, the National Smart Meter rollout and initial implementation of small-scale demonstration projects represent the first steps towards the establishment of a truly smart energy network.

“ENA and our member companies have been at the forefront of establishing smart networks in Australia that will allow for more efficient use of power and a more reliable supply for consumers,” ENA CEO Andrew Blyth said. “We look forward to the government’s further involvement in joining with ENA and energy network companies to see the smart network initiative become a reality. Energy network businesses are uniquely placed to assist in the implementation of the NBN. It makes sense to integrate smart networks and the NBN where business and operation requirements allow.”

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