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Australia - Smart Energy - Market Overview

Australia - Smart Energy - Market Overview

For numerous reasons the electricity industry is one of the last industries to undergo a major transformation in order to enter the digital economy. An emphasis on keeping electricity prices as low as possible led to severe under-investment in the grid to cope with issues such as energy efficiency, the integration of renewable energy sources and consumer tools aimed at managing home energy use more efficiently.

This began to change with a change in government in 2007. Labor government policies forced the industry to become more focused on the issues and also led to the formation of the industry alliance, Smart Grid Australia. They were instrumental in putting smart grids on the government's agenda. This led to the Smart Grid/Smart City project, which is covered in a separate report. Catch-up investment has lead to price hikes, which in turn have created political upheaval. Despite all of this there is still no cohesive holistic government policy that takes all the many different elements into account in its industry policies. The government's White Paper and new rules for energy networks published in late 2012 are still siloed approaches, and while smart technologies are starting to feature more prominently they are still not adopted as key enablers to the various government policies.

Over the last few years it has become clear that there are many elements to this transformation and the term smarter energy' is more appropriate to describe this. From here the concept will further merge into smart buildings, smart cities, and indeed smart countries.

This report explains what smart grids are; why they are important; what the applications are; and how the Australian industry and the Australian government is preparing itself for the changes that these new policies will bring with them.

1. Synopsis
2. Introduction into Smart Grids
2.1 Current grid outmoded and outdated
2.2 Old technologies, and fewer young engineers
2.3 Drop in overall demand, but not in peak demand
2.4 The industry is ready for action
2.5 Smart grid: $5 billion in annual benefits
2.6 Smart Energy cost savings
2.7 New jobs for an aging industry
2.8 Clean energy Opportunities for regional Australia
3. New industry visions
3.1 From UtiliTel to Smart Grid Australia
3.2 Holistic approach towards smart grids
3.3 What is Smart Grid Australia?
3.4 Vision Statement
3.5 Global Smart Grid Federation
4. Smart grid consumer issues
4.1 Missing the consumer education target
5. Government initiatives
5.1 Energy White Paper only First step.
5.2 New economic regulations for energy networks
5.3 Review of smart meter consumer protections and pricing in Australia
5.4 Smart grid to deliver renewable energy
5.5 Smart Energy Clean Energy Program
6. NUS electricity report and cost survey 2013
7. Regulatory framework
7.1 Confusion regarding regulations
7.2 Action needed
8. Related reports
Table 1 Percentage of respondents that rank specific risks related to smart meters and energy data collection in their top three concerns
Table 2 Percent of respondents who do not know the answer to the specified question or statement
Table 2 - International electricity price table 2013

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