Western Power lights up smart grid pilot

Pilot is part of the state's $73.5m Perth Solar City Project

Western Power will pilot a new smart infrastructure project, SmartGrid-Advanced Meter Infrastructure, aimed at delivering more reliable, sustainable and cost effective energy to homes and businesses in the south-west of Western Australia.

The energy supplier has signed IBM as its systems integration and project management partner for the intelligent network comprising smart meters and a communications backbone.

The SmartGrid-Advanced Meter Infrastructure pilot is part of the $73.5m Perth Solar City Project designed to help communities rethink the way they produce, use and save energy.

Lisa Cunningham, smart grid manager at Western Power, said smart grid technology would enable Western Power’s customers to become smarter and more efficient in their use of power.

“Having a smart meter installed will enable customers to view consumption rates and costs of appliances,” she said in a statement. “The smart meter also automatically alerts Western Power to power interruptions and enables rapid outage management.”

According to IBM, key to the success of the Solar City initiative is the design and deployment of an intelligent network consisting of a digital, open standards-based network of sensors, metering, communications, computer processors, and analytics.

The company says it is currently working on seven of the world's ten largest advanced meter management projects, and is involved in close to 50 smart grid engagements around the world, including with Energy Australia and Country Energy in Australia.

In October, the Federal Government called on the energy industry to submit bids for a separate $100 million smart grid plan. The ‘Smart Grid, Smart City' initiative, which is different from Perth's Solar city Project, will oversee the deployment of Australia’s first commercial-scale smart grid.

The same month, Victorian electricity distributor, SP AusNet, said it would partner with 12 companies and utilise WiMAX technology to rollout 680,000 smart meters in the state over the next three years.

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