The Federal Government has entered into an official agreement with EnergyAustralia for Australia’s first commercial-scale smart grid project. The project was originally scheduled to start in mid-2010 but was delayed by the Frederal election.

EnergyAustralia is leading a consortium of companies and government instrumentalities, including IBM and CSIRO. Smart sensors will be installed across EnergyAustralia’s network will help detect and mitigate power interruptions. Several other technologies will be tested, including the building of virtual power stations and a trial of charging technologies for a fleet of 20 electric cars.

Consumers will have better control over their energy consumption including the power to turn appliances on and off using their smartphones or through an internet portal.

The Government has committed up to $100 million to the project, EnergyAustralia is investing $200 million with a further $200 million coming from the other participants. The funding will help the company fast-track numerous pilots which are already underway. These include 50,000 homes being equipped with smart meters in Newcastle, Scone, Sydney CBD, Ku-ring-gai and Newington.