Victorian electricity and gas supplier, SP Ausnet, has announced plans to deploy the world’s first smart grid to run over a wireless 4G broadband (WiMax) network. The program includes the installation of 700,000 smart meters in homes and businesses in Victoria by 2013.

GE will provide the WiMax 4G-based meter communications technology for the network, as well as half of the smart meters. Landis+Gyr will provide the balance of the meters. The network management software will be supplied by GridNet and  Motorola will supply WiMax base stations, as well as its Access Service Network Gateway and new microwave systems to extend the wireless network to new coverage areas. The network will use Unwired’s broadband spectrum in exchange for which Unwired will use the network’s hardware to expand its coverage.

The new system will offer consumers variable pricing throughout the day allowing them to manage their energy consumption and reduce costs. It also gives utilities the capability of monitoring the grid in real-time to help ensure supply reliability. The technology will be scalable, making it possible for the grid to handle a variety of applications such as plug-in vehicles and alternative energy sources.