Smart Grid News Archive

Honeywell, one of the world’s biggest makers of technology to control buildings has been bridging the gap between smart buildings and the smart grid. Most of that work has been through established channels such as smart thermostats installed for utility demand response programs, or building energy management systems that allow commercial and industrial clients to better manage their power use. 

Honeywell is now moving into the next generation of thermostats that can communicate with utilities to turn power up and down to meet grid needs. Their work with EnergyHub in the USA is aimed at delivering a “home energy manager” platform, complete with smart appliance and home automation linkages and Web-based and smart phone applications to come.

Tasmania’s three water corporations announced that the installation of 73,000 new residential water meters and 88,000 replacement residential water meters would commence in January 2011. More than 5,000 water meters for commercial and industrial customers will also be installed. The project is expected to take around 18 months, with the residential component valued at $54M. The statewide project is partially funded by a $10M grant from the Australian Government’s Water for the Future initiative through the National Water Security Plan for Cities and Towns Program.

The Pike Research definition of a “microgrid” can be summed up as follows: an integrated energy system consisting of distributed energy resources (DERs) and multiple electrical loads operating as a single, autonomous grid either in parallel to or “islanded” from the existing utility power grid. In the most common configuration, DERs are tied together on their own feeder, which is then linked to the larger grid at a single point of common coupling. Though similar in many ways to a virtual power plant (VPP), Pike tries to draw firm lines between the two aggregation platforms for DERs, while acknowledging projects and business models that overlap.

After a comprehensive review of spectrum arrangements in the 400 MHz band, the Australian Communications and Media Authority has released implementation plans and timeframes to facilitate to new arrangements in the band. State and Federal Emergency Services will be able to better interoperate as a result of these new arrangements. 

The change should reduce congestion in the band, harmonise government spectrum, and promote greater opportunities for new and emerging technologies.

Increasingly, the telecoms industry is looking for opportunities to participate in smart grid developments. 

The key to smart grids is (tele)communications so there is an obvious interest from that  sector.  It could assist energy providers to better manage and deliver power, and to develop new services – in-home energy management, remote control of energy-consuming devices and more. 

However, over the past decades telecommunications operators and utilities have been grappling with partner-versus-compete strategies. In general the prices charged by the telcos and the lack of end-to-end control over their comms requirements when using public telecoms network has caused the utilities to deploy separate telecoms infrastructure. Many opportunities are available but telcos must take into account a range of factors, including reliability, capacity, latency, coverage in specific geographic areas, security requirements and power availability to the telecoms infrastructure.

The UK government has proposed that reforms need to be aimed at moving the UK to the front of the global race for electricity investment, driving the growth of clean energy industries in the UK, and ensuring the best possible deal for consumers. 

The Department of Energy and Climate Change and HM Treasury have together launched consultations on fundamental reforms to the electricity market to ensure the UK can meet its climate goals and have a secure, affordable supply of electricity in the long term.

Cable&Wireless Worldwide and SGA member CURRENT Group are partnering to develop integrated smart grid and smart metering solutions to help utility companies achieve the goals of the UK Government's Low Carbon Economy and National Smart Metering programme. 

C&W Worldwide's next-generation telecoms network will be combined with CURRENT's smart grid sensors, smart meter data collectors and analytic software. The result will be an end-to-end, standards-based, interoperable smart grid solution that will improve the efficiency and reliability of the UK electric grid while reducing the environmental impact of electric usage.

EnergyAustralia has selected Airspan Networks for part of the provision of its broadband wireless access networks. 

The Airspan WiMAX 4G smart grid network solution supports several applications including distribution  automation, smart monitoring and demand response. Providing two-way, high-speed, broadband connectivity,  Airspan enables real-time, secure communication from  the energy bulk supply points all the way to the smart  meter at the consumer location.

A study by the Ponemon Institute, a research organization based in Traverse City, Mich has found that the more people know about smart meters, the more likely they are to worry about the impact those meters will have on their privacy. The report, “Perceptions about Privacy on the Smart Grid,” was sponsored by AT&T and included a survey of more than 25,000 adult-aged individuals in the United States.

A recent study from NERA Economic Consulting indicates that negative cost benefits are projected for smart meters in most remote communities located outside of the major urban and regional electricity networks of Australia. The study makes a detailed investigation of eight off-grid communities in Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Mitsubishi Corporation, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation and Mitsubishi Electric Corporation have agreed to collaborate on a research project being undertaken by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO).

Utility smart grid initiatives continue to increase and questions of consumer acceptance are of great importance for the industry. A new consumer survey from Pike Research finds that consumer familiarity with smart meters is a critical element in fostering positive impressions of these new devices and their benefits. The survey, based on a sample of more than 1,000 U.S. adults, found that among respondents who were “extremely familiar” with smart meters, 67% stated that they had an “extremely” or “very” favorable opinion on the devices. This level of favorability was dramatically higher than the total base of survey participants, in which only 29% provided a favorable rating for smart meters.

The 2010 Annual Baseline Assessment of Choice in Canada and the US (ABACCUS) has found that Smart grid is helping expand retail choice. The report indicated that as advanced metering and other smart grid infrastructure continues taking off, residential markets are beginning to emerge, noting that HANs, EVs and control devices will be coordinated through these smart grid investments. 

Smart metering is a value proposition that will have payoff for utilities and customers. Another sign of robust residential markets is the ability of consumers to choose contract periods of varying length to lock-in good prices. Consumers can exercise a preference for the source of their power by selecting renewable/green power generated with wind turbines or hydroelectric facilities. In some states, consumers can bundle heating and cooling equipment check-up or maintenance costs into their electric bill. Other choices include TOU pricing and prepaid service and enrolling in DR and energy efficiency programs.

The findings of its second industry study undertaken by Logica which was presented at the SGA conference in Canberra in November revealed that major progress has been made by Australia’s energy sector since 2009 and highlighted an industry shift that puts consumers at the heart of smart grid and new technology programs for the first time. 

Key highlights:

  • Smart grids have moved from hype to reality and are the enviable future of Australia’s energy sector
  • The industry recognises that smart grids will not happen without consumer support
  • With huge developments in many areas across the grid, Australia is on par with the US, Asia, and Europe
  • Key challenges include drivers for business case, lack of regulatory support, information management, immaturity of standards and technologies, and lack of synergy with the NBN.

Legislation has been introduced in California in response to consumer concerns raised over potential health effects of smart meters. Numerous constituents, along with several city councils, have expressed concerns about the potential health effects of exposure to radio frequency emissions from the new smart meters and have questioned whether current federal standards are sufficient to ensure the protection of public health.

More than twenty companies in the Netherlands have agreed to collaborate on the development of intelligent energy concepts. Under the name Smart Energy Collective (SEC), they will set up a number of large-scale demonstration projects across the Netherlands relating to smart grids – intelligent energy networks – with a total of around 5,000 private and small business end-users. Through this initiative, the SEC aims to gain the edge over developments made overseas. It is believed that the SEC is the most significant industry initiative in Europe dedicated to the practical development of smart energy services and networks. The participating bodies are (in alphabetical order): ABB, Alliander, Enexis, Eneco, Essent, Gasunie, GEN Nederland, Heijmans, HUMIQ, IBM, Imtech, Itron, KEMA, Logica, Nedap, NXP Semiconductors, Philips, Rabobank, Siemens, Stedin, TenneT and Unica Installatiegroep.

For numerous reasons the electricity industry is one of the last industries that has to undergo a major transformation in order to enter the digital economy. An emphasis on keeping electricity prices as low as possible led to severe under-investment in the grid and this resulted in the side-lining of issues such as energy efficiency, the integration of renewable energy sources and consumer tools aimed at managing home energy use more efficiently.

New research conducted by Frost & Sullivan Growth Partnership provides a comprehensive insight on the developments in the market, with a thorough analysis of the key market drivers, restraints, opportunities, and revenue forecasts.

The second and third quarters of 2010 (2Q10 and 3Q10) included advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) smart meter deployment announcements covering 910,500 customers from five different utilities, an increase from 146,000 new endpoints announced in 1Q10.

With energy prices going through the roof many governments are facing serious problems, with people no longer being able to pay for their electricity. This has far-reaching consequences for the societal care of these people. 

Linked to today’s more austere economic circumstances, 10%-15% of the population in some areas are now experiencing cost related energy problems. And what is a social problem for the customers becomes a financial (debt) problem for the energy companies.

A new study conducted by Germany’s public think tank, DENA has found that Germany is facing an unprecedented overhaul of its power grid. Investments of at least $13b are required over the next 10 years to modernize the German power grid as an increasing amount of renewable power is threatening the aging 22,000-mile network. Onshore turbines are installed in northern and eastern Germany, while new offshore wind farms are mushrooming along the North and Baltic Sea coastlines. Dena claims some 2,240 miles of new transmission lines are needed to transport the fluctuating renewable electricity south and southwest to Germany's industrial hubs, where most of the power is needed.

The South American government has a mandate calling for the installation of about 62 million digital, networked electric meters by the end of the decade. Silver Spring Networks the smart grid networking startup considered most likely to IPO has announced it would work with Swiss metering Landis+Gyr on a smart grid solution for Brazil. Silver Spring also announced that it incorporated in Brazil earlier this year with an office in the country’s business center of Sao Paulo.

Pike Research estimates that a total of 57.9 million smart meters are already planned to be installed by more than 90 utilities in the United States. However, while they estimate that about 21 million smart meters will be installed in the U.S. by the end of this year, utilities have already planned for many more as deployment programs continue to gain momentum over the next few years.

In a recent smart grid survey fifty-five utilities provided a unique insight into their views about smart grid applications. Despite pushback from regulators and ratepayers, utilities are even more interested in smart grid programs than they were a year ago. The responses included both investor-owned utilities and publicly-owned utilities. Over 70% of participants have deployed at least a pilot program for smart meters, demand response or both. 

Of utilities that have not yet deployed smart meters, 61% are interested in installing them within three years; 44% of those that haven’t deployed demand response intend to within three years. Only 3% don’t plan to roll out either technology until required. Perhaps more significantly (and surprisingly), relative to 12 months ago, 37% of utilities are more likely to deploy smart meters and demand response, vs. only 3% less likely for both technologies.

China aims to spend billions of dollars to install new long-distance power infrastructure across the country. This is drawing interest from corporate who want to invest in new technologies that combine electricity and telecommunications. These new technologies, known as 'smart grid', are estimated to be a nearly $100B opportunity over the next five years and would easily exceed the $45B China is spending on 3G telecommunications technology over the same period.

Water distribution and retail business, Queensland Urban Utilities has rolled out new mobile technology, boosting its frontline response to water and wastewater call-outs.

NICTA, Australia’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Research Centre of Excellence, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Japan’s Nomura Research Institute to study the use of ICT in urban, industrial and social infrastructure, with a view to developing recommendations for research and commercial applications.

The companies bill provides that NBN Co must not supply an eligible service to another person unless the other person is a carrier or a service provider. This clause ensures that NBN Co will only supply services on a wholesale basis, thereby enshrining in legislation one of the key elements of the Government’s NBN announcement.

The city council of Sénart en Essonne, an area approximately 35km south of Paris, is saving 35% in energy use with its new networked street lighting system based on Echelon’s LonWorks® technology. The network of more than 3,100 streetlights can be selectively dimmed by segment during low-traffic hours, helping the city save energy and reduce its annual carbon emissions by an estimated average of 300 tons.

In less than a decade Italy has become the surprising world leader in the development of a smarter electrical grid. More than 85% of Italian homes are now outfitted with smart meters, the highest percentage in the world.

In 2001, Enel, Italy’s dominant utility, started a five-year program to install smart meters across its customer base of 40 million homes and businesses. They wanted to improve efficiency, create higher margins, and help customers reduce their energy bills.

General Motors and IBM have been working together to create the 2011 Chevrolet Volt electric car. The recent work between the two companies, showcases the Rational products used to develop the software system on the 2011 Chevrolet Volt. GM is one of the first U.S.-based automobile manufacturers to produce a next-generation "plug-in, range-extended electric vehicle." It is directly propelled by an electric motor, for up to 40 miles, with a gasoline engine that will drive the vehicle up to an additional 300 miles.

By Kate Achilles, NG Online

At the recent NG Utilities Summit Australia discussions centered around the role the Smart Grid will play in transforming energy delivery in Australia. 100 delegates from the Australian Utilities sector recently met at the Gold Coast in a closed door environment to discuss the major changes that are reshaping the traditional roles of utilities, creating opportunities for new technologies, and how it is redefining the scope and character of the sectors interface with customers and communities.

Western Power’s smart grid project in Perth is installing 9,000 smart meters into four separate suburbs. The utility is – as are now several others - also in early talks with NBN Co. However, with its own extensive fibre network (ex Bright) it can both underpin its smart grid project a well as being a potentially valuable asset for the broadband company. They are rolling out smart meters as part of Perth’s Solar City project, itself a component of a A$94 million federal government Solar Cities initiative.

LG Chem, Ltd. Is a member of our sister organization Korea Smart Grid Association and it recently announced that it has been selected by Southern California Edison (SCE) to provide lithium-ion battery packs for a pilot program involving energy storage systems for residential and small commercial applications.  The company is interested in partnerships with members of SGA.

ON World, a global market research firm says that smart grid initiatives have energized the "Internet of Things" and soon Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) technology will be deployed in millions of neighbourhoods and homes worldwide.

SBI Energy's new industry study Global Smart Grid-Enabling Products Market predicts that the next five years will be a pivotal period for the global smart grid market with grid component companies expected to leverage their sales expertise to capture long-term contracts throughout the electric grid supply chain. Anticipated government cash incentives will be crucial for developers and will inevitably ignite sales of smart grid components.

In the 12 months since the publication of the joint World Economic Forum and Accenture report, Accelerating Smart Grid Investments, and the presentation of the Forum’s Smart Grid Task Force on Low-Carbon Prosperity recommendations to world leaders, there has been a significant increase in funding committed to smart grid pilots. Governments have begun to recognize the centrality of smart grids as an enabler for a set of low-carbon technologies, and are increasingly viewing smart grids as a strategic infrastructure investment that will enable their long-term economic prosperity and help them to achieve their carbon emission reduction targets.

As the smart grid has evolved, most of the focus has been on consumer-facing products and technologies, such as smart meters, automated metering, and home energy management systems. Although these areas will continue to be important, a new study from Pike Research finds that utilities are placing increased emphasis on adding greater intelligence and control capabilities to their distribution infrastructure.

It seems that thousands of American consumers are unhappy with the new smart electric meters that have been installed on their homes, claiming they are inaccurately measuring power usage and driving up bills, some months by as much as 50%. Whether they are indeed getting ripped off is now a matter of national debate.

Better Place, an electric vehicle services provider, has announced the launch of its Australian Network Operations Centre (NOC). Located in Richmond, Victoria the centre will manage the intelligent systems, software and assets that underpin the Better Place electric vehicle (EV) recharge network in Australia.

Truly smart grids may be required to balance renewable (and often intermittent) energy sources, with both peak and variable energy demand. Intelligent control of local and centralised networks, coupled with real-time sensing and modelling, will be necessary to maintain network resilience. Microgeneration may change the face of the energy services market, with new rental models and dynamic tariffs.

The UK government’s Foresight Programme recently completed a project ‘Technology and Innovation Futures: UK Growth Opportunities for the 2020s’ and released the findings. One of the areas covered in this project was Smart Infrastructure.

The European Commission opened competition for the world’s biggest investment programme in green technologies to gain a competitive advantage over the US and China on renewables and carbon capture and storage.

IBM Research China has developed a new technology called The Distribution Outage Planner or IDOP to help energy companies manage power outages more effectively while improving productivity. The new IDOP technology can help the energy industry upgrade and transform a power grid by reducing outage frequency and duration of black out time while optimizing the company’s resources and assets.

China’s Shanghai city will have about 20,000 cars that run on renewable energy cars by 2012. The eco-friendly, energy efficient vehicles will be demonstrated in the Jiading district.

A new study has shown that China, the world’s top polluter, is a surprise leader in clean energy efforts, in front of the United States, Japan and Australia.

According to research from Datamonitor, the global smart metering market for residential customers will reach US$5.7 billion by 2015; a 350% increase from 2009. Smart metering has gained momentum and the market is growing as policy makers and utilities invest in smart metering. As a result, more than 60 million residential smart meter units will be shipped in 2015, four times more than in 2009.

According to GTM Research in will cost approximately US$250, including the cost of the equipment, installation and integration into a utility’s back-end systems. By contrast, it costs about US$330 to erect a home area network (HAN) for home automation and energy savings. Keeping down costs has consistently been a primary concern for utilities in their smart grid rollouts, but recent complaints from consumer groups and regulators in Maryland, California, Texas and other states have put utilities on warning that they must do better to justify rate increases.

China's largest power grid carrier, the State Grid Corporation, plans to invest 1.7 trillion yuan (U$254B) in power grid construction in the coming five years, completing the building of a strong smart grid by 2015.

Service Stream have been awarded a $40m contract to install more than 750,000 smart meters for phase 2 of the Jemena Electricity Networks and United Energy Distribution Advance Metering Infrastructure roll-out in Victoria. All three companies are members of SGA.

Computer Aid has launched its first solar powered Internet cafe in Kenya in conjunction with their Kenyan partners Computers For Schools Kenya (CFSK).

Foxtel subscribers are to be offered the new range of NP204 Powerline adapters from NetComm, allowing them to connect their Foxtel set-top-box to the internet with no changes to their existing network set up.

The Belgian EU Presidency has brought together governments and industry to speed up the building of an integrated offshore electricity grid in the North Sea.

The Plogg SE is a certified Smart Energy product. It is a wireless enabled smart meter plug designed to provide essential data about energy consumption by whole house analysis.

It is able to send two-way wireless communication to an Energy Service Portal and onwards over the internet. User specified data logging of intervals between 1 minute and 1 month can be set enabling great scope for detailed appraisal of the premises energy performance.

Oracle Water Utilities has conducted research in the Australian market which surveyed 751 Australian residents and 33 water utility executives to examine the level of demand for advanced metering systems amongst consumers, and to explore the opportunities for water utilities to benefit from this technology.

A pilot program is being conducted by IBM and Cisco to help the Dutch utility Nuon and the city of Amsterdam make smarter use of energy by enabling consumers to make more informed decisions about their energy consumption.

The Government released the Prime Minister’s Task Group on Energy Efficiency report.

The Report was commissioned by the Government to provide advice on the development of policy that will strengthen Australia’s response to climate change and reduce pressure on the costs of energy to all Australians.

Computer, communication and control sciences are vital to the success of smart grid technology at the University of Sydney's incoming Energy Australia Chair in The School of Electrical and Information Engineering.

According to a study by Texas University on power-grids, the decades-old technology used to manage the grid is vulnerable to manipulation or sabotage.

The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, today announced the signing of the Smart Grid, Smart City project funding agreement.

The Solar Cities program has helped many distributors begin to understand the impact of inverter connected renewable Distributed Generation (DG). These tests have often included smart meters that collect bi-directional data, to capture how much power the distributed generator is feeding back to the grid.

New research from analyst Berg Insight suggests that the worldwide installed base of smart electricity meters will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 31.1% between 2009 and 2015 to reach 302.5 million.

US company, Texas New Mexico Power Co. plans to cover its service territory with smart meters that will transfer data over AT&T Inc.’s wireless network, which will drive the smart-grid market to use common carriers.

Many governments across Asia have been starting to explore smart grid technology, while being cautious over security risks associated with new infrastructure. The region is still in the early stages of smart grid development, but we can expect a number of new pilot projects to be initiated in Asia over the coming year or so. Among interested vendors, Cisco has been particularly active in the smart grid space and has been working with a number of administrations in the region. There will certainly be a focus on managing security risks. Issues of authentication, authorisation, integrity, confidentiality and threat prevention will all no doubt receive attention in testing the security of smart grids.

According to a study from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the iPod touch, Android and other portable electronic devices (PEDs) could become an important component in the monitoring and analysis of smart grid performance.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) in its latest review of expenditure on clean energy research, development and demonstration, the public smart grid funding gap is estimated at between $5.07 billion to $10.67 billion per year globally.

Market research firm Infonetics Research concludes in their latest report  that "From a well-established base over GSM built up over the last decade, the embedded mobile M2M market is now poised for rapid acceleration, driven by new mobile devices, applications, services and providers, combined with the availability of higher speed networks. Demand is rising for mobile M2M applications such as smart energy monitoring and intelligent traffic, backed by government policy and funding, which is helping to create a virtuous growth cycle for the embedded mobile market."

PowerCentsDC, the first pilot in the US electric utility industry to test an integrated Smart Grid combination of dynamic pricing, multi-faceted consumer engagement practices, and smart appliance control – included about 1,000 Pepco customers in the District of Columbia for two summers and one winter, from mid-2008 to late 2009. Participating residential customers were tested on hourly pricing, critical peak pricing, and critical peak rebates. This program was the first smart metering program in the country to test these three dynamic pricing methods at the same time. Customers also received monthly energy reports; in-home display of real-time pricing and month-to-date cost and usage data; and online access to detailed energy consumption and conservation information via eMeter’s consumer engagement web portal.

UK company BT has set a 2020 target of reducing its worldwide CO2e emissions intensity by 80% against 1997 levels. The company has decided to construct a solar power system to supply renewable energy for its US headquarters in Los Angeles County. Some 440 BT employees are based at the Los Angeles office, along with a network operations centre and a data centre.

A survey of British consumers shows that, even if they had a smart meter, seven in ten would ignore the information it provided, even if it means they could save money on their energy bills.

Singapore’s Energy Market Authority (EMA) has appointed Accenture to carry out a S$30 million ($22.8m) smart energy pilot. The project, funded by the government and Singapore Power, will cover 4,500 residential, commercial and industrial locations, including the Nanyang Technological University campus and the CleanTech Park at Jalan Bahar.

In 2009, New Zealand households spent about NZ$3.5 billion on energy, while businesses spent about NZ$13.5 billion a year. Yet from every house in New Zealand, the carbon dioxide emissions just from standby electricity consumption add up to 130,000 tonnes each year. Massive savings could come by managing this wasted resource.

The NSW Government has released its Business Sector Growth Plan.

According to a Frost & Sullivan report  published in late 2010,.about $200 million worth of smart grid pilot projects are in operation or about to start in Australia with most focusing on the potential for smart meters and demand management.

Please find enclosed a link to an interesting article “Why Energy Efficiency Does not Decrease Energy Consumption” by Andy Revkin of the NY Times.

At several occasions I have said, the problem facing the planet is not energy consumption – it is the type of energy consume. It is the dirty coal plants emitting CO2 that is one of the major causes of global warming.


BuildingIQ, an energy management software company, completed its Demand Response (DR) application trial with Western Power and the City of Perth.

In a newly formed partnership, Juniper will provide hardware and software to connect with IBM’s smart grid network management software. The two companies have around a thousand utility and energy customers already buying its networking hardware products.

  • Greener and Smarter: ICTs, the environment and climate change
  • Recommendation of the OECD Council on ICTs and the Environment

Click here to download the documents and for more information

Tasmania will spend $1 million to set up NBN4Business, an initiative to educate Tasmanian industry groups on the benefits and opportunities for business that will arise due to the rollout of the National Broadband Network.

A solar-powered, low-cost, open source cellular network is revolutionizing coverage in underprivileged and off-grid spots. It uses VoIP yet works with existing cell phones.

The technology starts with open source software, OpenBTS which is built on Linux and distributed via the AGPLv3 license. When used with a software-defined radio such as the Universal Software Radio Peripheral (USRP), it presents a GSM air interface to any standard GSM cell phone, with no modification required of the phone. It uses open source Asterisk VoIP software as the PBX to connect calls, though it can be used with other soft switches.

Research conducted by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has concluded that Americans are using less energy overall and making more use of renewable energy resources.

BT Redcare a division of BT Group has been granted a three-year contract with IMServ to provide connectivity for smart meters. The contract covers a minimum of 10,000 smart energy meters.

Smart Grid Australia members Elster Metering Pty and Freestyle Technology, architect of the Freestyle Microengine (FME) have announced the worldwide availability of a jointly developed product for Water Utilities: the Elster V200 ZigBee Digital Water Meter which is supported by Freestyle Technology’s Application Platform.

The US Consumer Report published a list of smart devices.

One of these devices is a washing machine. If the machine stops working properly, there is a diagnostic button on the machine that can assist in finding the problem. The customer can dial a service centre and hold the phone next to the button. The washing machine beeps a code and the service centre diagnoses the problem – and maybe even fixes it.

The Ice Bear distributed energy storage system enables an interesting change in how and when energy is consumed for air conditioning.

A group of more than 15 countries has created the International Smart Grid Action Network (ISGAN) to drive global cooperation on smart electric grids. The effort was announced after a meeting hosted by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, Dr Stephen Chu who also hosted  an industry workshop on electric vehicles.

Google has embarked on a plan to operate datacentres via wind power. It has inked a deal to buy energy from wind-power utility NextEra Energy for the next 20 years which will be used to power a number of datacentres in the USA.

This Reflections paper has been commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and prepared by KEMA Consulting. While it has drawn on expertise within The Netherlands and offers thoughts for policy consideration by the Ministry, it is set in the context of global developments and offers an international perspective.

Presented by

KEMA Consulting

Lead authors:

John Scott, Peter Vaessen and Frits Verheij


Pier Nabuurs, CEO KEMA International

The IEEE Standards Association announced a call for participation for the IEEE P1595 Working Group to help develop new standards for quantifying greenhouse gas (GHG) emission credits from small hydro and wind power projects and for grid baseline conditions.

Australian innovators are encouraged to challenge for funding to cement the country’s place at the forefront of addressing climate change. SGA member GE together with  partners have announced a $200 million open innovation challenge that seeks breakthrough ideas to create a smarter, cleaner, more efficient electric grid and to accelerate the adoption of smart grid technologies.

Although the internet accounts for only 2% to 3% of the energy consumed around the world, the rate at which it is growing means this figure is climbing rapidly. Researchers are looking for ways to improve the efficiency of the internet and lessen its environmental impact.

Living PlanIT is planning to build the world's greenest city from scratch at a site in northern Portugal. Establishing its PlanIT Valley development as a working template for a new generation of low carbon cities, ones that combine real environmental sustainability with a quality of life and capable of housing 225,000 people, while producing "negligible" greenhouse gas emissions. The company estimates that it will need to raise $10bn for the project.

PowerMatching City, a living lab smart grid demonstration

Frits Bliek, KEMA, Albert van den Noort, KEMA, Bart Roossien, ECN, René Kamphuis, ECN, Johan
de Wit, HumiQ, Jorgen van der Velde, HumiQ, Marcel Eijgelaar, Essent.

The government has endorsed its renewable energy laws that set a target of supplying 20% of the country’s energy needs from renewable sources by 2020. By 2020, the equivalent of all household electricity use will come from wind and solar and wave and whatever other renewable energy sources can come to the market.

According to the latest statistical data released by the Energy Supply Association of Australia, Australia’s electricity consumption growth in 2008-09 has been led by the residential sector, with a 3.5% rise on the previous year.

Smart Wired Consortium a broad based, home connectivity industry body, with members including FOXTEL and Telstra Smart Community, amongst others, have warned that Australian homes run the risk of missing out on the optic fibre revolution, and calling for agreed technology standards for new and existing homes.

Two new power stations developed by Horizon Power in remote Western Australia at Marble Bar and Nullagine use innovative new technology to generate energy provided by the sun. The projects employ solar and diesel generation, combined with a flywheel energy storage system to ensure reliability and quality of power supply. It will also maximise utilisation of solar energy.

Smart Grid technology has the potential to be the single-most disruptive innovation within the utility industry. The convergence of multiple technologies, standards and legislation has enabled Smart Grid to significantly impact the utility industry. However, the benefits of Smart Grid will not be fully achieved unless organizations look beyond just the technology changes and harness the potential value of Smart Grid within its business processes, organizational structure, and market-serving approach.

A consortium led by EnergyAustralia recently won the tender for the government’s Smart Grid/Smart City project. Within days the energy company set up a website to capture early adopters. If those who live in the pilot area would like to be a part of the activities that are being planned for Newcastle, Lake Macquarie , Cessnock, Scone and Muswellbrook and if their post codes are within these areas they can registering their interest.

It is expected that combined heat and power (u-CHP) units in households will penetrate the market in the Netherlands at high speed in the coming few years. As a result, the consuming households will then also produce electricity, which makes them suitable for local management of the grid.

According to a report published by Standards Australia in late 2009, the electric vehicle market in Australia is at the embryonic stage, with only a handful of electric vehicles currently in operation around the country. Vehicle recharging is currently constrained to charging via standard general power outlets (i.e. GPOs). The future shape of the market is therefore likely to be defined by the future availability of electric and PHEV vehicles and the nature of future vehicle recharging systems.

Smart Grid Australia (SGA) welcomes the Australian Government's announcement of the winning bidder of the $100 million Smart Grid, Smart City demonstration project.  SGA also congratulates the industry as a whole for supporting the Smart Grid, Smart City project through their submissions.

According to a new report ‘Technology Roadmap: Concentrating Solar Power’. from the International Energy Agency (IEA) Australia could satisfy 40% of its electricity from concentrating solar power in 2050.

The report found that Mexico, Chile, India and South Africa as well as Central Asia and North Africa join Australia in having large potential for concentrating solar power (CSP). The United States, meanwhile, has the world's greatest CSP potential. By 2050, it could be satisfying 60% of its 2050 electricity needs by CSP.


The US San Francisco Bay Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) is leading efforts to build an 800-mile express lane network stretching from the Napa Valley wine country to California's fabled Silicon Valley. The initiative will create high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes that are free to vehicles carrying multiple passengers and available to single drivers for a fee.

So called “machine-to-machine communications” like the smart grid don’t include consumer customers and cell phone accounts, and run data over networks used by devices. A smart grid utility deal, or a machine-to-machine service, in contrast, can be relatively low maintenance. Machine-to-machine services can also diversify cellular networks and the smart meter traffic on the wireless network. Real-time pricing, but perhaps also demand-response events, could be minimal compared to, say, a wireless video stream.

A consortium led by EnergyAustralia has been named the successful bidder in the Federal Government's $100 million smart-grid, smart-city project with plans to make Newcastle Australia's first smart city.

Other parts of the $100 million two-year trial will be conducted in Scone, Homebush, Ku-ring-gai and the Sydney CBD, all in NSW.

Newcastle will be the site of Australia’s first commercial-scale smart grid, in a project that will help Australians to save energy, connect renewable energy to the grid and to tackle climate change.
To commence in mid 2010, the $100 million Smart Grid Smart City demonstration project in Newcastle is expected to lead to Australia-wide advances in energy efficiency.

In a project which will create sustainable, high efficiency electric power distribution and services based on modern communication, information and energy technologies, Helsingin Energia, a public utility of the City of Helsinki, ABB, a power and automation technology group and Nokia Siemens Networks will jointly develop, test and install a smart grid in the new Kalasatama district of Helsinki. The project is part of a larger initiative of the City of Helsinki to reduce its environmental footprint with a focus on sustainable and efficient generation, transmission and distribution of power.

Energy Australia is planning to build a $50 million WiMax wireless network as part of a smartgrid roll-out in the Sydney-Newcastle area. The development will, among other things, enable time-based pricing which has been successfully resisted by consumers of a similar system in Victoria, after they discovered the system would see them paying more for electricity.

Australia’s Academic and Research Network via a new agreement with Powerlink, is planning on upgrading its network between Cairns and Brisbane to a dual link 10Gbps.

The LiTMUS Group in conjunction with other Highland Worldwide member consulting groups, North Highland and Twynstra Gudde, has released a comprehensive white paper to help major utilities address the issues surrounding the development of a smart grid.

The CSIRO chose the CeBIT show to unveil a smart metering system that it says can be installed at low cost in households or small businesses.

It would allow householder and small business owners to remotely control electricity usage via the Web, CSIRO says.

Energy Australia will allow almost 200,000 New South Wales households to switch back to flat rate charging because of unintended consequences of its time-of-use tariffs.

The meters have allowed for time-of-use charging - where customers pay double the standard rate between 2pm and 8pm on weekdays but receive discounted rates at other times.

The Government will launch a $652 Renewable Energy Future Fund in order to promote the commercialisation of renewable technologies as part of its  2010-11 Federal Budget.

The  fund  is part of the $5.1 billion Clean Energy Initiative, will make use of private sector investment in order to support renewable energy projects, along with the development and deployment of low-emissions technologies.

Thanks to $10 million made available through the Brumby Government’s $23 million Climate Communities Program Small projects will be able to have a big impact on climate change.

The program is designed specifically to assist climate change projects undertaken by community groups in Victoria. It recognises the important contribution these groups have as well as the role Government must play in partnership with them.

Smart Grid Australia believes that a step-change improvement in Australia’s energy
efficiency performance is vital to reducing C02 emissions and achieving an economically
effective and socially inclusive transition to a low-carbon future.

Evidence indicates that energy efficiency can achieve both direct reductions in C02 emissions
and also lower the overall cost of meeting emissions reduction targets. However, until
recently, energy efficiency policy in Australia has mainly focused on the end-use of energy
consumers, with less attention given to the significant opportunities for improving energy
efficiency across generation, transmission and distribution networks.

Bill St Arnaud

There has been a lot of speculation on Google’s energy plans. While I believe Google’s plans at this point in time are quite modest, they may be laying the groundwork for a much larger push into the renewable energy market. Like other companies Google is always seeking new revenue opportunities. The energy market is orders of magnitude larger than the advertising market – capturing a small percentage of this market would represent billions of dollars in revenue. Although Google is now registered to buy and sell electricity in the wholesale market, it has not yet ventured into the retail electricity market.

Manassas, Virginia USA was the first real non-trial deployment of Broadband over Powerlines in the United States. The city's network, built by a company named COMTek, offered city residents speeds slower than 1 Mbps for $24.95 a month. By 2008, COMTek was starting to realize their fortunes would never be made in residential broadband using an inherently flawed technology, so they sold the network to the city. After pouring $1.6 million into the network and losing about $166,000 a year, the city this week finally voted to shut the network down. All 520 residents have been told to find a new ISP.

The German Renewable Energy Sources Act aims for the country to be using 30% of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2020. This poses not only economic and bureaucratic difficulties, but also pragmatic technological ones, since the ability for a nationally monitored network to manage and effectively utilise energy inputs from potentially thousands of homes and businesses is currently beyond existing capabilities. In future networks, power consumption and delivery must be far better managed or the system will not operate efficiently.

Accenture, a consulting company at the forefront of many IT and infrastructure projects, has outlined some of its smart grid efforts and shed some light on the state of the U.S. stimulus funding. The U.S. government’s effort to prime the economic pump may have actually delayed some smart grid development projects.

The Climate Change Group has sent a letter to President Obama that contains the following highlights:

Consumers should have access to information such as:

  • The ability to see their power use in a manner that will enable them to discover the sources
  • and causes of their consumption;
  • Pricing and pricing plans; and
  • Available information about generation sources of electricity.

US company GroundedPower's Web-based application combines home electricity monitoring with tools to make a home energy efficiency plan and get recommendations from others. It also makes a very simple hardware device called "Glance" to signal consumers if they are meeting their goals.

Although Germany’s telecom regulator, the Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur, or BNetzA), is not a planning authority to decide on the country’s future electricity supply, it does have a role in assessing cost efficiency and the security of supply, as well as competition issues. Since both fixed and mobile telecoms networks will become key components of the nation’s smart future grid infrastructure, the FNA has increasingly become an involved agency.

In the run up to the 6 May election in the UK, both of the principal parties have announced their policies on climate change and energy. Both acknowledge the perilous state of the UK’s energy markets, given the lack of preparation to invest in infrastructure or create new sources of power, whether from nuclear plants of diverse cleaner energy.

I often meet with VCs and entrepreneurs who want to learn more about the revenue opportunities of Smart Grids. It is seen as the hot new technology that will create vast fortunes for next generation of entrepreneurs. For a long time I have been extremely sceptical of many of the wild exaggerated claims made about the current generation of smart grids and the opportunity to make a return on investment.

British Gas has signed several multimillion pound contracts to roll out smart meters to nearly 1 million households from the end of 2012. The meters will help to produce accurate bills based on precisely how much energy households use.

A group of organizations, led by the GridWise Alliance in the USA, have formed the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative. The SGCC is a non-profit group that aims to engage consumers in the evolution of the smart grid by conducting consumer research, education and establishing best practices.

Smart grid strategies risk missing out on the spectrum they need to function fully unless energy industries develop cohesive standards, Australian Communications and Media Authority chairman Chris Chapman has warned.

Chapman told the National Smart Grid forum in Sydney that the ACMA’s work with utilities on the spectrum needs for smart grids was made more challenging by the diverse range of bands currently being investigated by multiple players – and urged the industry to pull together or risk having to go to market.

Seven Network’s subsidiary Wireless Broadband Australia (WBA), formerly the Unwired Group, has signed a $10 million deal with Energy Australia to allow the energy company to use 7MHz of the 2.3GHz spectrum it owns in Sydney, Newcastle and the Central Coast.

Technology now exists that can measure the energy usage of virtual machines (VMs), servers, desktops, laptops and individual softwares installed on computers.

The Victorian Government has put its planned smart meter scheme on hold following widespread protests about the effect of new time-of-use pricing structures on consumers.

According to Google the State of California should require its big utilities to give near real-time pricing information to every smart meter-enabled customer by the end of next year. California’s big three utilities Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric have raised plenty of objections to that deadline.

According to a survey released by Microsoft smart grid deployments are only occurring with 8% of utilities around the world, but more than half of these haven’t even started yet. Rather than conclude the smart grid is a non-starter, however, Microsoft believes it’s an untapped market set that is set to explode.

India’s mobile phone company Airvoice has formed a joint venture with state run power group Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN) to pursue plans for investing $50bn in building a 13 gigawatts (GW) of solar and wind capacity over the next decade.

Smart vehicles are vehicles that can think, communicate with each other and the transport network, and take action to improve safety and efficient operation. Smart vehicles include not only cars, but also trucks, trains, trams and buses.

The European Union has indicated that it wants to see standards for electric vehicle (EV) plugs, loaders and batteries that will enable electric vehicles to travel across Europe without any standardisation problems.

The new PowerMeter API (application programming interface) released by Google is designed to assist developers and manufacturers to build home energy monitoring devices. These devices will use Google's power monitoring tools.

The system places information taken from smart meters in the user’s home onto a dedicated iGoogle web page. The data provided includes graphs on use and waste.

Google has been granted a license to trade energy on the wholesale market, as well as retail it to the consumer market. The approval comes from the US Federal energy regulator FERC.

Baltimore Gas & Electric Company (BGE) operates a smart grid services that offers a ‘PeakRewards Program’. Over 270,000 residential customers have enrolled in this program. The energy saving generated by these users  have according to BGE produced the equivalent capacity of building a large new power plant at a fraction of the cost.

The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a Communications, Technology, and the Internet Subcommittee hearing on Improving Energy Efficiency Through Technology and Communications Innovation.

The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation has announced a hearing on this topic by the Communications, Technology, and the Internet Subcommittee.

IT services provider ASG Group has signed a contract to provide IT services to Western Australian electricity utility Western Power Corporation. The $35 million contract is to provide services for an initial 5 year term, with 2 extension options of 1 year each.

According to a new analysis ‘Smart Grid Economics: Making the Business Case for Smart Network Technology’ by the American Utilities Telecom Council (UTC), a typical electric utility can expect smart grid technology to generate at least $110 million per year through a wide range of benefits, from increased rate of return to lowered carbon emission to new jobs creation. The study calculated the economic impacts of a comprehensive smart grid deployment for a typical utility that installs one million electric meters.

SGA members Freestyle Technology Pty Ltd and Silver Spring Networks have announced an agreement to integrate Freestyle’s smart grid solution into Silver Spring’s open application and distributed microprocessor platform. The agreement will see the development of a range of smart grid applications that provide control and monitoring to new devices on the grid.

The following interview is abstracted from an article written by Tim Lohman from Computerworld.

According to Max Roberts industry manager utilities and Infrastructure Industry Solutions Group at SAP Australia (and SGA member) , while countries such as Italy had rolled out smart meters in the millions, Australia had an opportunity to lead smart grid technology in the area of managing and monitoring data travelling through multiple electricity market participants.

Utility companies around the world will spend US$21 billion by 2015 to improve cyber-security for the world's electrical smart grids, according to Pike Research.

Smart Grid Australia welcomes the launch of the Coalition's 'Direct Action Plan on Climate Change' which has the objective to reduce CO2 emissions by 5% by 2020 based on 1990 levels.

The policy also announced plans to establish an Emissions Reduction Fund open to the best carbon reducing plans.  Smart Grid Australia is delighted that the Coalition sees investment in new technologies as an opportunity to reduce CO2 emissions, as there are a number of examples of smart grid investments that will reduce CO2 emissions.

The Victorian State government has thrown its support behind the Frankston Smart Grid, Smart City project in an effort to secure up to $100 million in Federal Government funding.

According to a new study from US based ABI Research, “Smart Meters for Smart Grids” the number of smart electric meters deployed worldwide will rise from a 2009 level of 76 million to reach about 212 million in 2014. “Smart” electricity meters, which enable two-way communication between the meter and the utility, and may enable greater consumer control over consumption, are being deployed at an increasing pace, especially in North America and Europe.

There are suggestions that China will replace 300 million electricity meters over the next five or so years.

Google has decided it needs greater control over the power coming in, and will be launching its own utility, which will focus on supplying it with renewable energy.

The DESERTEC Industrial Initiative envisages North African solar farms providing solar energy to southern Europe. The North Sea Offshore Grid Initiative envisages North Sea wind farms providing electricity to northern Europe, load-balanced by Scandinavian hydropower.

The new Department of Energy (DOE) grants in the USA were announced recently. The total funding was $47 million, it will require matching money from the industry involved, which will bring the total expenditures up to over $100 million.

In his weekly newsletter Boyd Dale had an interesting editorial where I, with his permission,  like to quote from.

Last year, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Australia, through its Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute, have signed a trust fund agreement to support the capture and storage of rising levels of carbon emissions in Asia.

According to a new report from Pike Research governments and utilities are expected to ramp up their investments in the electrical smart grid, spending a total of $200 billion worldwide from 2008 through 2015.

The increasingly liberalised electricity market in Europe has caused the need for standardisation for smart metering. Although several European standards have been established, the EC has called for a more comprehensive set of open standards covering all utility models. As such, in early 2009 it began funding the OPEN Meter Project, a collaborative research project to develop a set of open and public standards for smart multi-metering services, supporting electricity, gas, water and heat metering. The set of standards will be based on existing industry standards where practicable, including those established for BPL and metering for electricity and other utilities. The project is coordinated by the EC to the European Standardisation Organisations CEN, CENELEC and ETSI.

The U.S. Department of Energy is evaluating dozens of proposals from universities and others seeking a total of 100 million in grants to train tomorrow's smart electric grid engineers and technicians.

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has released two new energy planning reports, the 2009 National Transmission Statement (NTS) on the electricity transmission network, along with the first annual Gas Statement of Opportunities (GSOO) designed to help guide development of Australia’s electricity and gas networks as they prepare to address the challenges of a low carbon future.

A report released at the Copenhagen climate change summit by the International Electricity Partnership shows that low emission electricity can be delivered by 2050 so long as government policies are fully supportive of the necessary changes.

Western Power will  roll out 10,500 smart meters in Western Australia, as part of its Smart Grid -Advanced Meter Infrastructure pilot, aimed at helping customers identify consumption patterns. As a result, households and businesses could lower their power bills as smart meters make usage monitoring more transparent. 

IBM will provide systems integration and project management services for the smart grid trial, due for completion in June 2012. The IBM contract is valued at $500,000.

At the Government’s NBN trans-sector conference: “Realising our Broadband Future”, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd extensively talked about smart grids.

The trans-sector awareness with in the Australian Government is starting to show its results. In late 2009 the Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development launched an inquiry into smart infrastructure. Building on initiatives such as the NBN and the Smart Grid/Smart City project he is requesting recommendations on ways to maximise its potential benefits to Australians.

The government has committed the UK to a number of measures aimed at facilitating smart grid infrastructure. This ranges from the installation of some 47 million smart gas and electricity meters in very home and business to a more general overhaul of the nation’s electricity grid and power usage.

A growing number of telcos have signed up with white-goods manufacturers and telecom equipment vendors to encourage smart metering initiatives. Thus Telecom Italia has partnered with Electrolux and Indesit for its ‘Energy@Home’ concept, by which its fixed and mobile broadband networks channel power consumption data from smart appliances directly to users’ computers and mobile phones.

New Greenfield developments are providing an excellent test bed for the deployment of FttH networks, where the trans-sector concept can be tested. NEC and Opticomm are rolling out new FttP (premises) networks in NSW, Victoria and South Australia. The success of the greenfield roll out has prompted the companies to look at extending FTTP connectivity into existing neighbouring areas, using the infrastructure built in the greenfield developments as the network ‘hub’.

A leading environmental group has called on the Ministerial Council on Energy ­ which is meeting today in Hobart ­ to overhaul the energy sector, and commissioning a comprehensive review of how Australia's energy markets can be modernised into a smartgrid.

Next week the world will focus on the climate summit in Copenhagen in the hope of a breakthrough that will lead to a concerted global effort against greenhouse gas emissions, including those from information and communication technologies (ICT).

Doing its bit for the planet, researcher IDC has estimated that using key ICT systems to their full potential could see as much as 5.8 billion tons of CO2 emissions eliminated by 2020.

In January 2009 Congress announced the American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill 2009 which included amongst its target sectors the development of a smart grid. Thousands of applications for funding were received and in October 2009 the government allocated approximately $3.4 billion in matching grants. The successful recipients include one hundred private companies, utilities, manufacturers, cities and other partners. With matching funding, the total project value will be over $8 billion.

Wireless sensors and GPS are being used to irrigate fruit and almond orchards in California. 

The moisture in the soil is measure by probes, and the data is sent over a wireless link to a collection station where it’s relayed to a data centre. The farmer accesses the data online from a PC which helps him know when and how much water his orchard needs.

Technology developed by Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) has the potential to help building owners worldwide dramatically reduce their energy consumption and costs, improve tenant comfort and reduce greenhouse gas missions.

Motorola, Grid Net and GE Energy Services are among a number of partnering companies tapped to develop a WiMax-based smart metering program in Australia. The program, which aims to bring smart meters to almost 700,000 homes and businesses in the state of Victoria, will be the first WiMax-based 4G smart grid solution, according to the companies.

The pace of networked monitoring and control equipment installations should accelerate due to recent initiatives from the Department of Energy and the state of California; across the border, the Province of Ontario will see smart meters installed in every home by the end of next year. 

This is according to Ontario's Information and Privacy Commissioner who has worked with members of the Future of Privacy Forum to analyse the privacy implications of these initiatives. The resulting report indicates that there are a variety of potential privacy concerns, some of which are best addressed before the deployments begin in earnest.

The City of Colwood Victoria, B.C has joined forces with Horizon Technologies to showcase clean energy and Smart Grid technologies in partnership with the T’Sou-ke First Nation, environmental and energy associations, two local universities, and local high-tech businesses and experts.

Africa’s power grids are as notorious as its traditional fixed-line telephone networks for poor performance and reliability and a complete failure to satisfy demand on a national level. This is particularly true in sub-Saharan Africa, while the relatively affluent North African countries have done slightly better in both areas. However, the idea of Smart Grid technology is only just beginning to be addressed on the continent – less so from the environmental point of view at this stage but driven rather by the need to manage a chronic shortage.

Last week I presented - via Webex - at the first Latin America Smart Grid conference in Sao Palo, Brazil. At all accounts the event was a success. However, they had barely finished the event and the country was hit by a four hour long blackout. It plunged half the country (70 million people) into the dark and is marked as one of the largest black outs in the world.

With the Copenhagen climate conference starting next month, Telstra has launched a blog on this hot topic.

Toronto-based Zerofootprint, a company that makes software for measuring and monitoring corporate carbon emissions has developed TalkingPlug, a plug that fits on top of existing electrical outlets, however, is equipped with the component to make it a controllable node on a network, including an RFID chip, microprocessor, and wireless networking.

Digital smart meters have been compulsory for all electricity providers since 2006. The government's timetable is for 95% of customers of the approximately 100 electricity companies to be on smart meters by 2011.

Microsoft, announced that it has developed an architecture tailored for utility smart-grid programs. The Smart Energy Reference Architecture (SERA) is meant to give utilities a blueprint for integrating and modernizing their IT systems. Microsoft said that its software will work with devices specific to the power industry and help utilities better handle an anticipated wave of real-time data.

President Obama announced the smart grid investment grant awards.

This new device helps people to understand the home's electricity use. It monitors the home's electricity consumption and make smart choices that will reduce energy waste.

Following the SP AusNet announcement to use WiMAX for their smart grid application Robin Whittle ( )suggest that other parts of Victoria also might use the network. There's no reliable way of doing it via the electricity cables themselves.

At a recent conference in the USA a lack of trans-sector government policies around the use of the national broadband networks and smart grids was flagged.

SP AusNet signed an agreement with wireless broadband operator Unwired that will give it access to spectrum for the provision of smart electricity metering .

Smart Grids 2009

18 - 20 November 2009
The Regent Singapore

While in Washington, walking over the Mall, I visited an extraordinarily interesting display of 20 full-scale solar houses, built by universities from four countries. They were all totally different in design, but all powered by the sun. Together they formed a ‘street' so it was possible to really get the impression of a cohesive suburban situation.

The government has announced that Australia plans to build the world's largest solar power station with an output of 1000MW in a $1.4 billion investment.

New Regulatory regimes for energy transmission and distribution have been in operation for two years, and network revenue and pricing regulation has largely moved to the Australian Energy Regulator. Regulatory regimes have undergone their most significant changes in a decade. New forms of light regulation are being tested in gas, and national electricity rules have been put to the test in regulatory resets across Australia.

There has been a lot of discussion about climate change and what IT departments should do to reduce energy consumption. Most of this is being driven by corporate social responsibility. But a few organizations are undertaking processes to understand the impact of cap and trade on the bottom line of their IT and network operations. When the real cost of cap and trade starts to be felt a lot of organizations will be looking at their IT departments as the low hanging fruit in terms of reducing energy consumption and concomitant GHG emissions. 

Horizon Power is sponsoring the development of the most efficient gas-fired power station in the Pilbara's North West Interconnected System (NWIS).


US company Solar Roadways has announced that it has been awarded a contract that will enable them to prototype the first ever Solar Road Panel.

We have the IEEE P1901 approach, which is built on multiple incompatible PHYs and MACs. One of the specifications is based on OFDM (Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing) modulation; the other is based on Wavelet modulation. The modulation schemes are mutually incompatible, so IEEE P1901 products based on OFDM modulation will not interoperate with products based on Wavelet modulation. 

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has announced it will continue to work closely with the electricity industry to find the right spectrum solutions.

CANBERRA - Australia could have an electricity smart grid in place and operating by 2011, accord­ing to guidelines for the $100 million Smart Grid, Smart City project, issued yesterday by Environment Minister Peter Garrett.

The Spanish government has announced plans to utilise telephone booths as part of a network of electric charging stations for vehicles. Some 30 telephone boxes have been earmarked to form part of a test network of 546 state-subsidised recharging points in Madrid, Barcelona and Seville. Phone boxes are often ideally placed close to the curbs of pavements and already have their own electricity supply, making them relatively easy to adapt.

Cisco is creating the Cisco Smart Grid Ecosystem to help accelerate the adoption of IP for utility communications networks. The members of the ecosystem include system integrators, technology vendors, power and utility integrators, service providers, and other vendors who represent various elements of the smart grid infrastructure, Cisco says.


AT&T has entered into the smart grid market by offering up its network to utilities seeking two-way communication with their customers. The company is realising that the real market opportunity could come from providing services on top of the network to their utility customers.

Cisco is using the large scale developments in smart grids to focus the attention on the opportunity to base smart grids on the IPv6.

Country Energy has selected Utilisoft's FlowTalk NSW Gas Module to provide full connectivity to the NSW Gas market and integration with its core business systems for its Network and Retail businesses. Both companies are members of Smart Grid Australia.

The US Department of Energy program to distribute $615 million to fund projects demonstrating smart-grid technology has attracted 140 proposals requesting a total of $2.3 billion.

The Energy Supply Association of Australia has welcomed the release of the Productivity Commission's review of regulatory burdens on business and its findings that actions should be taken to finalise key energy market reforms.

The Korean government has announced it plans to build a smart grid pilot complex by 2011 to enhance the country's ability to use renewable energy.

Both the government and the Tory opposition have committed the UK to a number of measures aimed at facilitating moves towards smart grid infrastructure. Among them is a commitment to install 26 million smart meters in very home and business, as well as 20 million gas meters, starting in 2010. This project alone is expected to cost up to £10 billion.

It has been reported in ESAA's ‘Electricity Gas Australia 2009' that electricity consumption in Australia recorded modest growth of 1.2% in 2007-08, only slightly lower than the 1.5% increase recorded in 2006-07, according to the Energy Supply Association of Australia.

Analyst firm Berg Insight (Gothenburg, Sweden) published a report in June 2009 predicting that the installed base of smart electricity meters in Europe will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 16.2% between 2008 and 2014 to reach 96.3 million.

Following the release of the Government's ‘Australia's digital economy: Future Directions' paper, The Australian Industry Group and IBM Australia released a blueprint outlining what Australia needs to do to enter the next growth phase and build a more sustainable economy. 

By Vint Cerf, Chief Internet Evangelist

The term "smart grid" means many things to many people. At the most basic level, the smart grid is defining smarter ways to deliver and use energy -- but did you know that the smart grid is also defining new ways to generate and exchange energy information?

The recent passage of renewable energy target legislation through parliament means that from January there will be a target requiring 20% of electricity to be generated from renewable energy sources by 2020.

Huawei have announced that they have been selected by Grameenphone (GP), a subsidiary of Telenor, to deploy Bangladesh's first solar-powered base transceiver stations (BTS).

The Wireless Power Consortium have announced that they are nearing completion for a new industry standard in supplying electricity wirelessly.

With the structural separation of the electricity industry now in place the Netherlands is facing the very critical issue of building smart grids.

A number of smart meter trials are underway in Germany, usually small-scale and involving a group of houses or apartment blocks. Often, power is sourced from gas and photovoltaic (PV) systems, monitored remotely and controlled by an energy management system (EMS).


The recently separated distribution arm of Dutch energy utility Essent has been launched under its new name of Enexis...They announced that rather than taking the slow road of upgrading their ageing network they wanted to speed up the rollout of smart grids...

This is an executive summary of a paper that was commissioned by the Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology at the University of California, Berkeley. It estimates the rate of market adoption of electric vehicles in the United States through 2030 and analyzes the impact of electric car deployment...

On September 8 Paul Budde will present at the Energy 21C Conference in Melbourne.

Here are some of the highlights of his presentation.

Ergon Energy and Energetique have announced a joint project to develop and test the integration of electric vehicles with the electricity grid.

Smart Grid Australia was invited to attend the breakfast with Al Gore; and afterwards one of our executives also participated in a smaller discussion group with Al Gore and Ian Dunlop at the launch of Safe Climate Australia (SCA) -

The powerline networking technology of DS2 requires no new infrastructure implementation and can network an entire building quickly and easily. This makes implementation cheap and efficient and enables any building or individual home-owner to get onto the Smartgrid instantly.


Over the last year Smart Grid Australia has been following the interesting developments of DESERTEC.

The city of Amsterdam is the latest to join the smart grid movement with a new pilot program that will be managed by IBM and Cisco, along with the Dutch utility Nuon. 500 homes will be outfitted with energy management systems, including smart meters and energy monitors.

The Ministerial Council on Energy (MCE) has endorsed a distributor led rollout of smart metering where a jurisdictional implementation date has been set and where the benefits outweigh the costs, in order to enable consumers to make more informed choices and better manage their electricity use and greenhouse gas emissions, reduce demand for peak power with potential infrastructure savings, and drive efficiency and innovation in electricity business operations and retail market competition.

A new Netherlands Ambassador was recently appointed to Australia. And his goal is nothing less than to build the world's first smart embassy!

Our sister organisation the GridWise Alliance praised the House of Representatives for passing the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, the Waxman-Markey bill, which includes several key smart grid provisions.

Onzo's smart energy kit provides a powerful energy management tool for the consumer. It consists of a sensor, display and integrated website.

Tendril Vantage is another browser-based Internet portal that enables customers to monitor, manage and control the energy consumption and each of the smart devices in their home. It makes it easy to minimize energy costs by running air conditioners during off-peak hours or lower energy consumption when away from home.

The Asian Development Bank, in its study entitled "The Economics of Climate Change in Southeast Asia: A Regional Review," argues that while Asia has much to lose from uncontrolled climate change, it also has much to gain from emissions-reducing energy market reform that would include aggressive development of biomass, geothermal and solar.

German reinsurer Munich Re, facing billions of euros in claims for damage caused by climate change in coming years, is seeking to drum up support for an ambitious plan to build solar parks in the Sahara desert.

The eTelligence project in Cuxhaven, Germany represents a rural model region with a low penetration rate and a high share of renewables which rely on wind energy. It is planned to develop a complex control system to balance the volatility of wind power which intelligently integrates wind energy into grids and markets and ensures a high level of supply security coupled with improved economic viability.

The MEREGIO (Minimum Emission Region) project, which is receiving funding from the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology as a winner of the E-Energy funding competition, is now under way.

The European SmartHouse/SmartGrid project sets out to validate and test how ICT-enabled collaborative technical-commercial aggregations of Smart Houses provide an essential step to achieve the needed radically higher levels of sustainability and energy efficiency in Europe. It develops a holistic concept for smart houses situated and intelligently managed within their broader environment. Intelligent networked ICT technology for collaborative technical-commercial aggregations enables Smart Houses to communicate, interact and negotiate with both customers and energy devices in the local energy grid so as to achieve maximum overall energy efficiency as a whole.

Microsoft has launched its "Hohm" Web site designed to help residential power consumers save money and reduce their carbon footprint.

In one of the worlds leading smart grid demonstration project in Boulder Colorado, the end user is put central. The smart meters connected to the grid have a range of applications:


According to estimates made by Cisco, just the communications portion of smart grids represents a US$100 billion opportunity --- US$20 billion a year over the next five years.

ACMA to present at Ergon Energy Smart Grid Conference

The great pivotal economic changes in world history have occurred when new energy regimes converge with new communication regimes. When that convergence happens, society is restructured in wholly new ways. In the early modern era, the coming together of coal powered steam technology and the print press gave birth to the first industrial revolution.

The recent budget allocation of $100m funding towards demonstrating the integration of smart grid and smart metering technology has fuelled Australian interest in what is being done in leading demonstration projects overseas. One of the benefits of SGA's inclusive membership (spanning industry and research organizations as well as utilities) and its linkages with international sister bodies(GridWise in the USA and Smart Grid Europe) is the opportunity to gain insights into many of these projects.

Some of the key findings to be drawn from the Access Economics report include:

A report by DESERTEC-Australia, "Australia 2050: Clean Energy Superpower" states that the average Australian household could pay up to 30% more per year by 2025 for electricity generated from coal and nuclear power than from concentrating solar and hot dry rock geothermal power.

Cisco sees a $100 billion market opportunity in the smart grid.

The US government has announced significant progress that will help expedite development of a nationwide "smart" electric power grid.

The following is a summary of a collection of comments on blogs and recent articles on smart grids. Thanks to my colleagues Bill St Arnaud and Frank Coluccio.

The Queensland Government operates a ClimateSmart Home Service ( to help householders reduce energy consumption and save up to $250 on energy bills annually.

Eight utilities representing over 10 million customers from 3 countries and 6 different US states have become the first partners of the Google PowerMeter project.

It is interesting to note that the e-car is not new.

In fact the first 30 years of the car industry was dominated by e-cars. The first e-cars began to emerge as early as 1897. They were mainly used as commercial vehicles, and taxis in particular ran on electricity until well into the 1920s. Some of the commercial e-cars lasted into the 1940s.

IBM has enlisted its financing arm to start lending money for smart grid projects to the tune of US$2 billion. IBM Global Financing, a lending/leasing segment of the Armonk, NY-based technology and consulting firm, plans to make up to $2 billion in financing cash available for IT initiatives for infrastructures to support key stimulus areas of the stimulus legislation.

In "Australia 2050, Clean Energy Superpower," DESERTEC-Australia proposes a pan-hemispheric High-Voltage Direct Current power line and natural gas pipeline network stretching from the Great Australian Bight to Beijing.

The UK government in October 2008 announced that it would mandate smart meters for all households. The project has since developed greater clarity in planning and timing. Smart meters will be compulsory by 2020, paving the way for a low-carbon smart grid and saving customers and energy utilities between £2.5 billion and £3.6 billion over the next 20 years. Customers with smart meters use up to 15% less energy, given that they are immediately aware of usage and costs, while utilities save on manpower and related costs, and gain from managing a more efficient energy infrastructure.

The government has estimated that the Energy Efficient Homes investment will:

Perhaps the most interesting element of the $100 million investment in a new smart grid demonstration project is that it is linked to the National Broadband Network. It clearly shows the trans sector thinking the government has embarked upon.

Most of Europe's householders have minimal interaction with their electricity providers. In the UK, for example, it is normal for people to receive three estimated quarterly bills: only once a year is the meter read, and the bill then adjusted to reflect actual use.

Intel hosts meeting of power, computer, comms EEs

A study released by the London School of Economics has revealed that a £15 billion (US22.2 billion) investment in broadband, smart grids and intelligent transport systems would offer a greater economic stimulus than investing in roads and bridges in the UK.

Allocating funding to the development of smart electricity networks would create employment, improve productivity and manage greenhouse gas emissions, according to a leading industry association.

Over the past few years I have argued for a coordinated approach in respect of infrastructure developments. And more recently I have been talking about a trans-sector approach.

Regional electricity companies in New Zealand are preparing themselves for the government's planned FttP rollout.

The Energy Smart Miami project will see General Electric, Cisco Systems, Silver Spring Networks and the Florida Power & Light Group working together to provide the city of Miami with smart grid services. The project will be the largest US smart grid deployment to date and includes a federally funded US$200 million initiative.

SmartSynch and AT&T are partnering to bring smart grid technology into the US home via a communications link from the power utility to the smart meters in individual homes. The technology will be cost-effective for power companies and customers as it will use the already installed public wireless network.  

With a background of increasingly stringent EC rules on energy conservation and the requirement for Member States to procure a greater proportion of their energy needs from renewable sources, European governments are making more intensive moves towards introducing smart meters and appropriate technology in their gas and electricity markets.

Two Brazilian utilities presented customer-service awards to Switzerland-based smart grid solutions provider Landis+Gyr.

Avea has used a hybrid solution as an alternative to diesel generators to power its telecoms base station.

Energy efficiency paradoxically can increase energy consumption and hence Co2 emissions if the energy comes from fossil fuel.

Kevin Cox, a professor at the University of Canberra has come up with a very novel scheme of special use of the national money supply, he calls "Rewards" that is quite a novel and unique approach on how to fund national broadband and renewable energy infrastructure. It is a much more generalized scheme of "gCommerce" that Bill St Arnaud (Canada) has advocated of using ICT, in particular broadband, to reward consumes for reducing their carbon footprint rather than penalizing them through carbon taxes and the like. This is an interesting interview with Bill:

A new testing centre in Adelaide, at the SA University's Sustainable Energy Industry Support Centre, is aimed at developing advanced solar thermal technologies.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in the USA stared its first meeting chaired by the new Obama Administration appointee Jon Wellinghoff. He laid out priorities reflecting the "intersection between environmental policy and energy policy" and other key energy initiatives of the new administration. Under his leadership, the commission will vigorously maintain four "fundamental" responsibilities:

The Energy Supply Association of Australia estimates that Australia's energy supply industry will need to secure almost $100 billion in refinancing and new capital expenditure over the next five years in an economic climate that has severely reduced the availability of both debt and equity.

The average Australian household could pay up to 30% more per year by 2025 for electricity generated from coal and nuclear power than from concentrating solar and hot dry rock geothermal power, according to DESERTEC-Australia; a company that advocates developing large-scale solar, geothermal, wind and wave energy projects in interior Australia.

In many European markets, the development and growth of national and local fibre infrastructure is increasingly being stimulated by the involvement of electricity utilities. These operators have extensive and long-term customer relationships in place, as well as under-utilised infrastructure.

Earlier this year the Tory opposition aimed to score some political points and take the environmental lead by promising, if elected, to provide householders with up to £6,500 to improve energy efficiency. The proposal was compared to the ‘green economy' plans of Obama's new administration, which formed part of a larger multi-billion dollar infrastructure investment programme.

Verizon is considering the addition of energy management services to its list of services over a home network with a connection to its FiOS FttH service but has not yet confirmed a plan, other than stating they will offer videoconferencing. Verizon's FiOS FttH service passes 12.7 million homes.

ACMA recently prepared a document in which it proposes its future spectrum arrangement for the 400MHz band. This include spectrum that has become available since the mobile communications CDMA network has been switched off.

Nano-Nouvelle has recently received an AusIndustry Climate Ready grant of $276,000 to assist with research and development of nanotechnology. The technology is being developed with the support of Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast Pty Ltd and the University of the Sunshine Coast.

At the Freedom to Connect (F2C) conference in Washington, Mr Billy Ray of the Glasgow (KY) Electricity Board launched another name for smart grid: "infotricity.".

ETSA Utilities is currently trialling a new electronic control box, which it plans to install in all Adelaide residences sometime after 2010. The control box will permit ETSA to switch off individual appliances, eg air conditioners and plasma TVs, to cut down power use.

Chattanoogan in Tennessee will be one of the first cities in the world building a city wide smart grid, one that will service the entire council area.

The Copenhagen Climate Council comprises 30 global leaders from business, science, and policy, dedicated to create awareness of the importance of COP15, the UN conference to be held in Copenhagen in December 2009. At this conference world leaders will meet to agree on a new treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol.

At the Freedom to Connect conference in the Washington DC (,many scientists are warning that the planet may be close to a tipping point...

In March 2009, Energy Australia launched a $3.2 million plan to implement an energy network monitoring and control solution, a key element within the company's overall intelligent network program, the Distribution Monitoring and Control (DM&C) project involves the roll-out of 12,000 sensing devices throughout the electricity distribution network, creating a smart grid.

...Currently just over half a percent of our electricity, comes from alternative sources, such as wind and solar. In some of the European countries this figure is already approaching 10%...

Last week the IEEE formally approved a new group that will scope out standards for smart grids.

ABI Research forecasts that in 2009 over 800,000 cell phone base stations will utilize alternative energy solutions such as wind or solar energy.

The City of Anderson in Indiana USA is utilising its fibre optic network to offer companies electronic data storage for offsite backup and disaster recovery.

I would like to ask for your attention in relation to this important water infrastructure project.

Most people still don't appreciate the sacrifices that are going to have to be made in order to achieve CO2 reductions in line with Kyoto agreement or upcoming Copenhagen agreement as documented in a recent MIT study that public attitudes about climate change reveal a contradiction...

The US Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, has pledged to work with Congress to pass legislation to impose a cap-and-trade system to curb greenhouse gas emissions and fight global warming.

In mid-2005 the ZigBee Alliance released its standard for a low data-rate, short-distance wireless networking system that is optimised for low duty cycles (occasional, short, communications) and very low power consumption.

On the Mediterranean island of Malta, power and water are intricately linked. The nation's electricity is generated entirely by imported fossil fuel, while the country depends on electrically powered desalination plants for over half of its water supply.

In a move that surprised everybody the Dutch government has scrapped all taxes on driving e-cars; no luxury tax, no tax on electricity used for driving cars, no road tax and no fringe benefit taxes for business cars used privately.

Almost daily there is more alarming new evidence of the significant growth in CO2 emissions and increased warming raising the probability of global climatic disruption. The latest in depth study from MIT paints a very grim picture where they are project a "median" temperature increase of 5.1C.

The Universal Powerline Association (UPA) in the UK, a leading industry consortium providing a forum for the development of interoperable and open specifications to cover all Powerline markets and applications;

Build a more efficient electricity grid based on clean and renewable generation. The modern, 21st century electric grid will need to be bigger, better, and smarter than the system developed during the 20th century that our countries share.

Tacoma Power (Washington) was created by the local community more than 100 years ago to meet their needs for electricity. It was their belief that public ownership and local control resulted in higher quality services.

Two Canadian wireless communications companies and another that deals in wired communications have signed on to provide high-speed Internet access using the $7.5-million fibre-optic ring now under construction in Ontario County, with more companies expected to sign leases in the coming weeks and months.

Living Level monitors, logs and displays a household's resource use and renewable resource production. Displaying to any device with an internet browser.

It can have up to six inputs for monitoring any combination of consumption and production of resources in a home...

Silicon Valley Power, a non-profit electric utility, purchased the Santa Clara WiFi assets from MetroFi in September and is now using those assets to pioneer a meter reading program that uses the WiFi access points to transfer information from home energy meters to the company in order to help customers reduce their power bills...

Many of the current ‘smart grid' deployments focus on the so called smart meter, which often is far from smart.

Results have been released from the first Smart Grid and Renewable Energy opinion survey of utility regulators across North America...

A major trial of a WiMAX wireless broadband network in the Hunter region of NSW is currently being undertaken by utility Energy Australia. The company is testing technology it believes could eventually support a billion-dollar intelligent network and smart meter rollout.

CANARIE, Canada's advanced network organization, is pleased to announce its intention to invest $3 million in a Green IT pilot program to demonstrate the technological feasibility and business advantages of an internationally distributed zero carbon cyber-infrastructure facility to be located in Canada.

The CENT-A-METER is an electronic device which measures domestic electricity use and displays the cost per hour on a portable display located inside the home or small business.

In one of the first efforts of its kind, universities in Canada and California are pledging to work together to reduce GHG emissions on their campuses while developing a 'green cyberinfrastructure' - information technology that improves energy efficiency and reduces the impact of emissions on climate change.

The details of the US economic stimulus package are starting to come out. It is very promising to see the focus that they are putting on a reliable, efficient electricity grid. In all US $11 billion has been allocated for Smart Grid developments.

Smart Grids Home page