Smart Grid Advantage

By implementing demand response and communication technologies throughout the grid, New Zealand will be able to make the most of its renewable energy resources and lay the foundations for electric vehicles and other smart energy technologies. The potential savings are huge: by acting now, we’ll save $3.6b by 2030. The first step is a nationwide, industry-wide demand response strategy to build our domestic energy savings as well as create a highly skilled tech industry.

Our national electricity grid has for some time been sub-optimal, involving unnecessary generation demand and electricity usage. The Smart Grid Advantage looks to investigate and promote smart grid commercial strategies for New Zealand that will lead change towards energy efficiency and the automation of energy demand. Smart grids are digitally enhanced electrical grids that make the use of electricity more efficient. They address three key areas: interconnection between the traditional electricity grid and renewable energy sources such as solar panels, windmills and electric vehicles (“distributed energy sources”); home area networks that provide tools for end-users in their own homes to manage overall energy usage (as well as that of the individual devices); the inclusion of communications technology into the electricity grid to make it intelligent and therefore more efficient and effective (household devices and the grid “talking to each other”).

The Smart Grid Advantage aims to utilise the expertise of key players in New Zealand’s electricity grid  management (including user groups, universities and government authorities) to create a robust strategy covering the design, rollout and ongoing management of smart grid systems. The economic and environmental benefits of this strategy will include significant cost reductions to the New Zealand economy through efficient energy use; a reduction in carbon emissions; increased energy security; and access for our technologies and products to global export markets estimated to be worth tens of billions of dollars by 2014 (according to McKinsey research).

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