Policy Statements

Smart Grid Standards

  • The evolution of a mature, internationally accepted set of Smart Grid standards is likely to take place over a timeframe of many years - shaped by both conceptual considerations and practical issues arising from early deployments
  • Refraining from any investments in Smart Grids until standards are fully settled would carry a high cost in terms of denying Australia the benefits that Smart Grids can offer
  • A stakeholder group with strong utility representation should meet periodically to monitor international standardisation efforts and collate Australian input to such efforts
  • Utilities embarking upon early deployments are encouraged pay particular attention to the degree to which their suppliers are able and are likely to be able to comply with emerging standards


Advanced Metering Infrastructure

  • SGA supports the deployment of smart meters as an enabler to energy efficiency, utility operational efficiency and the development of a sustainable energy sector in Australia
  • Smart metering can be a smart grid enabler (the first step towards a SG deployment) or a smart grid blocker (that is, an investment which is not compatible with a future SG)
  • Smart meter deployments should be planned in the context of a broader strategy for longer-term modernisation of Australia's electricity network
  • Communication capabilities in smart meters should either:
    • be adequate from the outset;
    • be easily upgradeable without the need for early meter replacement.


Development of an Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS)

  • SGA supports the development and implementation of an Emissions Trading Scheme as a catalyst for driving efficiency programs and a progressive transition to the increased use of clean, renewable sources of energy
  • Smart Grids have the potential to offset the cost impacts to consumers of an Emissions Trading Scheme through the provision of consumption information and the enablement of energy efficiency programs and products
  • A clear transition path from existing state-based schemes to a national ETS is crucial to provide certainty to businesses and consumers


Open standards

  • SGA strongly supports the development and implementation of open standard systems that facilitate interoperability and allow the easy integration of new systems and products
  • Open standards are an essential component of smart grids, and can avoid the risk of stranded asset investments by all parts of the smart grid value chain
  • The Commonwealth Government should actively monitor international standardisation efforts and, in conjunction with industry groups, align as closely as possible with them to avoid isolation
  • At the network layer, all devices should be IP-addressable
  • At the application layer, new protocols will be required to support real-time communication relating to energy management






Industry transition to Smart Grids

  • SGA supports the development of a regulatory framework that
    • Encourages utility companies to invest in research and development projects to explore the economic, environmental and operational aspects of smart grid development, deployment and operation
    • Provides an environment to encourage innovative approaches to challenges facing the industry as a whole
  • A national approach to smart grid regulation - facilitated by the Australian Energy Regulator and the Australian Communications and Media Authority - is crucial to the successful development and deployment of smart grids in Australia
  • SGA supports the inclusion of provisions similar to the US Energy Independence and Security Act 2007 (EISA), which provides for
    • Modernisation of the electricity network to create a smart grid
    • Energy security
    • Energy conservation
    • Federally funded research and development
    • Industry training programs
  • Unless the regulatory environment is conducive to smart grids, utility companies may be slow to implement best practice in this area due to the cost implications involved


Developing Smart Grid communications infrastructures

  • Open standard communications networks are key to the development of Smart Grids in Australia
  • It is important that the communications networks support Smart Grids have adequate two-way capacity and performance characteristics to support monitoring and controlling tomorrow's electricity grids
  • A mix of telecommunications technologies and mediums will be required to provide the communications networks for Smart Grids
  • The National Broadband program and associated policy decisions are an important step in developing a consistent approach to broadband development in Australia, but should be viewed as part of a wider solution for Smart Grid communication requirements
  • Individual utility companies will have different requirements for communications capabilities, and as such it should be left to companies to develop their requirements in consultation with telecommunications carriers, vendors and integrators




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