Aussie Smart Grid cash up for grabs

A$100 million NBN application tender goes up for grabs

The Australian federal government is calling on the energy industry to submit bids for the $100 million smart grid.

The 'Smart Grid, Smart City' initiative will oversee the deployment of Australia's first commercial-scale smart grid, touted as having the potential to cut the price of household energy bills and reduce carbon.

"The National Broadband Network is intended to enable a whole range of efficiency and productivity gains across the economy, including in the energy sector," communications minister, Stephen Conroy, said in a statement. However, Layer 10 founder and NBN lead for the Communications Alliance, Paul Brooks, said it would depend on the NBN's timeframe as to whether the smart grid becomes one of the first wide-scale deployments of an application over the NBN.

"It will be a pilot programme for operational processes, ordering and provisioning processes and how connections are going to be made over the NBN network," he said.

"The various technologies that a required do to this on a wide-scale have slowly been coming together from many different directions and, maybe, we're just at the right tipping point where we're putting some money on the table to get a little bit more action and a little less talk."

Environment minister, Peter Garrett, said the smart grid could produce an estimated minimum reduction of 3.5 mega-tonnes of carbon emissions per annum. The successful consortium is expected to be led by an electricity distributor and include members from electricity retailers, product and service suppliers, governments, academic bodies, consumer interest groups and other non-government organisations. The tender closes late January 2010.

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