Surrey Hills, Australia --- (METERING.COM) --- August 19, 2013 - Smart technologies have already demonstrated the potential to benefit customers – so the next step is to bring these elements together to demonstrate the full smart grid vision, says Smart Grid Australia in a newly released policy recommendation proposal for government.

With that in mind Smart Grid Australia proposes a more holistic approach to demonstrate the significant social and economic benefits that can be achieved for customers and the nation as a whole. This will require effective integration of new and emerging technology components through standard interfaces, supported by new and compatible business models and regulatory frameworks.

The four-page document says that while industry participants have been active in planning and developing smart grids in Australia, the key benefits are national in nature and in order to achieve these, government leadership and government directions are required.

Smart Grid Australia proposes five initiatives – “a pragmatic set of actionable steps” – that should be taken as a matter of priority:

  1. Develop a long term framework for transforming electricity networks to meet customer needs of the future
    Recommendation: That the Energy Minister appoints an independent committee of industry experts to develop and document the framework for transforming the electricity sector based on a national rollout of intelligent technologies.
  2. Help customers understand the benefits of Australia's energy future
    Recommendation: Develop and implement a program to help customers understand the benefits associated with Australia's energy future.
  3. Develop “holistic” and long term sustainable solutions based on open standards, interoperability and appropriate business and regulatory models
    Recommendation: Development of an interoperability framework allowing the effective integration of diverse technology choices as well as facilitating information exchanges between distributors, retailers and customers to support the cost effective development of new products and services.
  4. Progressing proven elements of the smart grid
    Recommendation: That the government, regulators and electricity businesses progress the implementation of proven elements of the smart grid without delay.
  5. Possible funding initiatives for smart grid projects
    Recommendation: Allocate a budget of (indicatively) AU$15 million (US$13.8 million) funding to support several targeted trials in areas that are identified as holding significant promise, but where the opportunities and benefits have yet to be confirmed. Suggested examples include facilitating the broader deployment of distributed energy resources, improving the efficiency and safety of rural networks, and identifying opportunities associated with large scale data analysis.