Web-based metering system marks another win for Green IT

CSIRO unveils the latest in Green IT gadgets, a mini smart-meter which can manage power remotely

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has just unveiled its latest Green IT gadget, a web-based smart metering system, which will enable users to remotely control energy consumption over a broadband Internet connection.

The research organisation worked with energy service company, Energy Response, and hardware designer, Saturn South, to develop the mini smart-meter, which can be installed in switchboards and then be managed remotely from a centralised control platform.

The system is targeted at smaller energy users such as householders and small businesses and can aggregate a large number of smaller users, a feat which would normally have been logistically impossible and cost prohibitive if not for current innovations in telecommunications - namely the development of broadband.

CSIRO project leader, Dr Martin de Groot, said that by taking advantage of common broadband Internet connections, the CSIRO was now able to build and deploy affordable, real-time platforms to deliver energy services to individual dwellings.

The infrastructure is cheap to install, can be retrofitted to existing buildings and complements other technologies. Once in, the system can send alerts to mobile phones notifying users of significant changes in energy use in the home. If less than 10 per cent of customers used the system, the projected cost savings for the installation of the system in Tasmania alone is estimated at $10.9 million.

The CSIRO has recently won the Clunies Ross award for its invention of Wi-Fi. CSIRO did not respond to requests for comment by time of publication, but the technology is expected to be rolled out once regulatory approval has been given.

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