If anyone is in any doubt as to whether there are plans to control our individual appliances via Smart Meters……..read on (Comment Stop Smart meters Australia)
Article from: Western Power | Business Excellence Magazine
Western Power brings electricity to Australia’s fastest growing region. Fuelling that growth is costly; but the Perth Solar City programme is helping to solve the grid’s problems—and those of its customers too.
As the hub for Western Australia’s mining activity, lying close to the port of Fremantle, the city of Perth has been the recipient of a great deal of state and federal investment to ensure its infrastructure keeps pace with its strategic economic importance.
And Perth has a pleasant climate. It averages 2,900 hours of sunshine a year—that’s around eight hours every day, making it the ideal place to site solar panels. Around 1.7 million people live in the city; most of them have air conditioning in their homes and workplaces, many have pools—and with average summer temperatures in the high 80s Fahrenheit, these get plenty of use. When the temperature soars, AC equipment and pool pumps kick in, creating peak demand that is very challenging for the energy utilities to meet.
Of course Perth is not the only place in Australia (let alone the rest of the world) with similar patterns of use. Nevertheless the way this city is tackling its present and future energy use is making it something of a benchmark for best practice.
Australia has designated seven Solar Cities—regions that bring together industry, business, governments and communities to rethink the way they produce, use and save energy. Perth is the newest of these, launched in 2009, and had the advantage over the others of being able to harness ‘smart grid’ technology—which bins the old model where consumers simply waited with fingers crossed for their two-monthly bill. This model may have been modified by growing awareness that we ought to conserve power and buy low energy light bulbs; but the smart grid concept allows a real partnership all the way through, from electricity generation to the consumer.
Perth Solar City covers a large area to the east of Perth and includes over 120,000 households. It is delivered by a consortium led by Western Power, the regional network provider, and eight other members: Eastern Metropolitan Regional Council; the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority; Living Smart; Mojarra Energy Management Systems; Prospero Productions; Solahart; SunPower; and Synergy (the electricity retailer). Between them these partners have already got around 14,000 households involved in the project.
The entire programme is highly customer-focused, says program implementation manager Andrew Blaver. “Traditionally energy management has been all about the supply side—about building generating capacity and networks to meet ever-growing peak demands. Smart grid gives us the opportunity to give customers what they want—to save money while continuing to be able to use their appliances—and at the same time, to reduce consumption at the peak times on our network.”
The key elements of a smart grid are smart meters—meters that can do much more than just record the amount of electricity a household has used—and the back office systems to manage them. In March 2010 Western Power signed a $5.33 million deal with Landis+Gyr (L+G) and Silver Spring Networks (SSN) to set up an initial smart grid trial. The new meters supplied by L+G can give the consumer the information they need to better manage their energy use. They measure electricity use in the home or business at half hourly intervals and transmit the information to Western Power. But better still they can allow the utility access to household appliances to make better use of them.