Smart grid success: Australia declares its program a win (with caveats)



Quick Take: Australia's federal government has just completed an audit of its inaugural smart grid trial. The verdict? A success overall, albeit with a few reservations, as explained at Australia's web site. For more details, download the full report. - Jesse Berst


The Australian federal government's Auditor-General has published an extensive audit of the country's initial smart grid trial. It concludes that most aspects were a success, with a few small exceptions.


The government allocated $100 million towards the effort, which launched in earnest in June 2010. The consortium included energy utility Ausgrid, AGL Energy, Sydney Water Corporation, Hunter Water Australia, Newcastle City Council. IBM and GE EnergyAustralia.


The three-year project promised utilities real-time information for better grid control It promised customers real-time analysis of electricity usage for better energy decisions. Deliverables included smart meters for residential customers; testing of new rate programs; web portals for customers; grid-side applications for reliability and renewable energy integration; smart gas and water metering; and a small trial of electric vehicles.


The auditor gave a passing grid to the grid-side applications, to the integration of renewables, to the smart meters, and to the EV trial.


On the negative side, a plan to test retail electricity sales fell short of its goal of enrolling 20,000 participants.


Jesse Berst is the founder and Chief Analyst of SGN and Chairman of the Smart Cities Council, an industry coalition.

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