$5 million partnership with the University of Sydney to power EnergyAustralia’s Smart Grid

The University of Sydney and EnergyAustralia have signed an agreement on 26 May 2009 a $5million partnership to lead smart grid development in Australia and train the next generation of power engineers.

smart grid inauguration

The five-year partnership will create a Centre of Excellence at the University of Sydney for research and development of intelligent electricity networks, also known as smart grids.

EnergyAustralia Managing Director George Maltabarow said creation of the Centre of Excellence for intelligent networks expanded the company’s relationship with the University of Sydney, where a Chair of Power Engineering has been in place since December 2006.

“Smart grids represent the biggest change to the electricity network in 100 years,” Mr Maltabarow said.

“This means power engineers need broader skills than ever before – they need both IT and engineering skills.

“Part of building a smart grid involves training a new generation of engineers to operate it.

“This partnership means University of Sydney researchers and students will help transform traditional electricity networks by developing and testing technologies. This will also prepare students to work as engineers on the smart grid in the future.

“The intelligent network will change the electricity industry in much the same way that mobile phones have re-shaped the telecommunications industry.”

The EnergyAustralia Chair of Power Engineering at the University of Sydney, Professor Vassilios G. Agelidis, said the research collaboration builds upon an already very strong relationship between the University of Sydney and EnergyAustralia and provides a unique opportunity to work on relevant cutting-edge research challenges that will also benefit Australia.

“Significant technological revolutions occur every hundred years or so and this is certainly the time for the electricity grids to gain from new technologies that will integrate energy storage, distributed generation, intelligent information processing systems and communications, high-bandwidth sensors, weather and geographical information, control systems and IT to mention just few,” Professor Agelidis said.

“These new technologies will make intelligent decisions, predict problems through artificial intelligence and provide fully-automated solutions.

“Intelligent grids are not a destination but an exciting new journey that will continue to deliver the transformations needed now and in the future to bring the electricity grids to the 21st century and beyond.”

Mr Maltabarow said the electricity industry worldwide was working on overlaying smart solutions across existing networks. This includes sensors, telecommunications technology and information systems to radically change traditional electricity networks.

“These technologies will improve reliability and response times to outages, drive productivity gains and allow more renewable energy sources to be connected to the grid,” he said.                                                                                                                 

“Smart grid technologies also hold the key to lowering our carbon footprint by delivering energy saving options in the home that will turn the national Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme into reality.”

EnergyAustralia’s $170 million smart grid program began in 2006.

“Our smart grid program is among the most advanced in the electricity industry worldwide, and we are pleased to create these university think-tanks to push further into this new world.

“As an organisation with a strong commitment to development across Sydney and New South Wales, we are pleased that this new Centre of Excellence will capitalise on the University of Sydney’s expertise and bring the city into the international energy spotlight.”

EnergyAustralia will establish a second Centre of Excellence at the University of Newcastle with a further $5million investment.

Both research centres will also be supported by communications and IT giants, including multi-nationals Alcatel-Lucent, IBM and General Electric.

Contacts:

  • EnergyAustralia News Pager 02 9966 7985
  • Professor Vassilios G. Agelidis, University of Sydney, 02 9351 3446