The Australian Government's Smart Grid, Smart City project has demonstrated Australia's first fully integrated, commercial scale smart grid. The project trialled a range of customer and grid side smart grid technologies and applications, to help quantify the benefits of smart grids and to inform broader industry and consumer acceptance and adoption of smart grids across the Australian energy market. The project has gathered robust information about the costs and benefits of smart grids and is being used to inform future decisions by government, electricity providers, technology suppliers and consumers across Australia. Reports and data, including data interrogation tools, are publically available through the project website: www.smartgridsmartcity.com.au/ich.
The grid side application trial outcomes provide useful information to network businesses to improve system reliability and security; manage peak demand in a more cost effective way; identify operational efficiencies; and support the integration of distributed generation and storage, and intermittent renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power.
Households participating in the trials had unprecedented access to transparent and near real-time electricity usage and cost information; were financially rewarded for reducing their energy use at peak times, had greater control over their energy use and bills and were able to avoid expensive peak demand charges. Access to applications such as simple in home displays (S-IHDs), home area networks, online consumer portals, smartphone apps and energy rebates, maximised household utility from dynamic tariff offers.
The Smart Grid Smart City project also trialled distributed generation and storage technologies, including small community wind turbines, residential and grid side battery storage devices and gas fuel cells. These trials sparked a high degree of community interest in alternative energy infrastructure.
An electric vehicle trial was also undertaken for both fleet and private usage patterns. This demonstrated the benefits of electric vehicles for consumers and businesses and provided data on the likely impacts that the uptake of EVs will have on electricity network operations.
The analysis shows potential savings of up to AUD 28 billion over the next 20 years, through:
Technological development, deployment and enablement of smart grid technologies;
Cost reflective electricity pricing including dynamic tariffs;
Changing consumer behaviour; and
Energy market reforms to support smart grid technologies.
The project trials were completed by 28 February 2014. The project's final reports and supporting material were published on 28 July 2014 and are available on the project website: www.smartgridsmartcity.com.au/ich.