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The 'smart' future of energy distribution and control of use

11 August, 2009

A clear picture of the Australian gas and electricity industry’s response to carbon reduction challenges and consumer demands for greater control over power use will emerge from a major energy conference in Melbourne early next month.

World experts in electricity and gas delivery will attend the 2009 Energy 21C conference to debate issues including climate change, customer expectations and future networks, including new infrastructure and smart metering technologies.

Energy 21C, to be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from 6 to 9 September, is the premier electricity and gas industry conference in the Southern Hemisphere with around 2,000 delegates expected to attend.

“Without doubt, the conference will provide compelling insights into future energy networks and the way that the electricity and gas sectors engage with their customers,” Energy 21C Program Chairman, Mike Griffin, said.

“It will explore asset management and technology issues that meet customer expectations for performance, not only in terms of reliable supply, but also in environmental sustainability benchmarks.

“Two of the dominating topics of the Energy 21C conference will be smart network systems and demand management strategies.

“The renewal of ageing energy networks with intelligent systems and smart metering technologies to improve customer service and operational efficiency and address climate change imperatives are critical to the future.

“Energy 21C will be of vital importance and relevance to gas and electricity networks, manufacturers and suppliers. It will also be important for governments, industry and consumers because the conference will establish a proverbial roadmap to the future of electricity and gas transmission and distribution in Australia and around the world.”

Industry leaders agree the most successful energy transmission and distribution companies will be those that embrace innovation and smart technologies to meet the demands of a low carbon economy and provide better choices for their customers.

The Energy Networks Association (ENA), the peak body representing gas and electricity distribution businesses throughout Australia, has welcomed the National Energy Efficiency Initiative, announced recently by the Australian Government.

In partnership with the energy sector, the Government will invest up to $100 million to help develop a smarter and more efficient energy network.

ENA Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Blyth, said: “We look forward to the government’s further involvement in joining with the ENA and energy network companies to see the smart network future become a reality.”

The Australian Industry Group (Ai Group), which with ENA is co-owner of Energy 21C, said there was a need for major investment in energy transmission and distribution to replace ageing infrastructure with new systems and technologies.

“It is going to be crucial for the Australian Energy Regulator to be fully aware of the benefits, including environmental benefits of investment in smart grids,” said Ai Group Chief Executive, Heather Ridout.

“The Garnaut Climate Change Review recommended medium to long-term policies to improve the prospects for sustainable prosperity. This included the important area of transmission infrastructure.”

The Energy 21C conference will integrate a series of keynote and panel presentations, workshops, live practical demonstrations, site visits, and a vast exhibition area.

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