The Australian government has announced that Newcastle will be the site of Australia’s first commercial-scale smart grid. Due to start in mid 2010, the $100m Smart Grid Smart City demonstration project will test smart grid technologies and ensure their suitability for Australian conditions. It is expected to lead to the introduction of smart grids across Australia.
A consortium led by EnergyAustralia and including IBM Australia, AGL, GE Energy, TransGrid, Newcastle City Council and the NSW Government, was the winning bidder.
Minister for Climate Change, Energy Efficiency and Water, Senator Penny Wong said that “Smart grids are critical in the fight against climate change, as they have enormous potential to improve the efficiency of our electricity sector and transform the way we use energy in our homes and businesses. If smart grid applications are adopted around Australia they could deliver a reduction of 3.5 megatonnes of carbon emissions per annum.”
Expect to see many more of these sorts of demonstration projects around the world with consortiums forming and reforming to make their bids. There’s significant opportunity in this market, so ICT companies will want to gain experience and establish their credentials. It’s no surprise that IBM is involved in Australia, smart cities/smart grids (pretty much smart anything) is the company’s Green IT focus.