Motorola, GE and Grid Net are part of a group of companies looking to bring a WiMax 4G-based smart grid program to Australia. Officials say the initiative will create the first smart grid based on the WiMax wireless platform. The program includes the installation of smart meters in almost 700,000 households and businesses in Australia by 2013.
Grid Net and GE Energy Services are among a number of partnering
companies tapped to develop a WiMax-based smart metering program in Australia.
The program, which aims to bring smart meters to almost 700,000 homes and
businesses in the state of Victoria,
will be the first WiMax-based 4G smart grid solution, according to the
The plan developed by SP AusNet, an Australian energy delivery company,
calls for the smart meters to be installed by the end of 2013. A communication
network also will be set up enabling the smart meters to communicate with SP
AusNet's smart grid network.
"This smart grid solution will help [SP AusNet] enjoy the immediate
benefits of smart metering, while providing them with a powerful platform to
readily adopt additional smart grid technologies to further improve energy
efficiencies, improve reliability, empower consumers with information and
integrate cleaner energy sources," Bob Gilligan, vice president of GE
Energy Services' transmission and distribution business, said in a statement
Smart grids have become a key focus for some IT vendors, which see them as a
good fit for their technology and a boom market in the future.
aggressively pursued smart grid projects across the globe. Cisco officials in
May announced a smart
touting Cisco networking products as a key to developing highly
intelligent and manageable electrical distribution systems from the home to the
power source. They said smart grids could grow into a $20 billion business
within five years.
IBM's smart grid efforts are part of its
to bring intelligence into a variety of systems, such as
railroads and utilities.
Other vendors, such as Silver
are also looking for traction in the space.
The SP AusNet project is part of a push by the Australian government to
enable more than 2.2 million homes and 300,000 businesses to better manage
their energy needs and consumption.
In the SP AusNet initiative, GE will provide the WiMax 4G-based meter
communications technology across the entire network, as well as half of the
smart meters that will be installed. Grid Net will bring its PolicyNet network
management software suite to help manage the meters, controllers, switches and
other devices on the smart grid network, and Motorola is supplying its mobile
Motorola will deploy WiMax WAP 650 base stations, as well as its Access
Service Network Gateway and new microwave systems to extend the WAN to new
"This is the first time WiMax technology will be used in smart metering
for an electrical utility company," Eric Starnes, vice president of sales
and operations for Motorola's Home and Networks Mobility business in Asia, said
in a statement.
The key to the solution is that it's carrier-grade and standards-based,
The smart grid architecture will enable the utility to monitor the health
and status of the smart grid devices in real time, and will allow SP AusNet to
provide variable pricing throughout the day. With this capability, consumers
will be able to manage their energy consumption and move their power-intensive
activities to lower-cost off-peak hours, according to GE.
IDC analysts say smart grids will
continue to grow in importance.
"Smart metering deployment has the potential to be one of the most
significant changes in the energy world, not only for utilities, but also for
consumers," Roberta Bigliani, research director for IDC
Energy Insights EMEA (Europe, Middle East
and Asia), said in a statement.
IDC released a study Oct. 23 about a
smart metering project in Spain
involving The Gas Natural Group,
which distributes natural gas in parts of Europe
and Latin America.