The CSIRO and five Australian Universities yesterday launched the Intelligent Grid Research Program to investigate "technologies and practices to make our electricity networks smart, greener and more efficient".

The group’s 3-year research program aims to find ways to develop an electricity network that uses distributed energy resources and advanced communication and control technologies to deliver electricity more cost-effectively, with lower greenhouse intensity and better response to consumer needs.

Small generators including wind turbines, solar panels, micro turbines, fuel cells and cogeneration can be closer to the users,  may rely on renewable energy with no greenhouse emissions and may make more efficient use of conventional power generated from coal. However, intelligent grid technologies are needed to seamlessly integrate these intermittent renewable energy sources into the wider network.

The Intelligent Grid Program will contribute to the CSIRO Energy Transformed Flagship’s research goal of halving greenhouse gas emissions and doubling the efficiency of the nation’s new energy generation, supply and end-use technologies.

(See GoBizGreen and iGrid for further details.)