Australian smart grids need standards: Frost & Sullivan

Government mandates to result in 8 million smart meters installed across Australia

A lack of standardisation and concern over choosing the most appropriate technology are holding Australia's smart grid market back, according to new research from Frost & Sullivan.

Detailing the state of the local smart grid market in its Strategic Analysis of the Australian Smart Grid Market - June 2010 report, the analyst firm claimed existing smart grid technology was not easy to implement, scale and integrate.

“In any emerging market, making the right technology investment means selecting systems that will be sustained and supported by the industry in the years to come," Frost & Sullivan consultant, Rajat Gupta, wrote in the report.

“In the smart grid market, where investments are valued in the tens and hundreds of millions of dollars, Utilities are still figuring it out what those systems will be.

“Therefore the challenge and the opportunity for ICT vendors is to get in early, forge partnerships with the utilities and start ensuring that their solutions become part of the long term future of the power companies.”

According to Frost, there are $200 million worth of smart grid pilot projects in operation or about to start in Australia. Most focus on the potential for smart meters and demand management.

Much of the current activity around smart grids is also being driven by government mandates that would result in the installation of nearly 8 million smart meters across Australia, representing an investment of nearly $US2.1 billion by 2015.

The predicted expansion in the smart grid industry comes despite the Victorian government’s smart meter rollout being put on hold in March after advocacy groups voiced concerns that the scheme’s time-of-use pricing model could adversely affect consumers.

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