New Zealand has a long history of innovative demand management,
starting with the deployment of the first ripple control systems 60
Ripple control, while it has served us well, is
becoming outdated technology. New technologies and systems are
available that have the potential to dramatically change the way
consumers interact with electricity systems.
I believe the potential for smart grids in New Zealand is significant.
smart grids I mean not only smart control systems at the distributor
level, but also smart meters connected to smart appliances at the
consumer household or business level.
It is the integration of
these smart systems through real-time communication that provides many
potential benefits to households, businesses, electricity retailers,
distributors and Transpower.
Improved security and network performance
Zealand is an isolated, self-reliant, electricity system. Smart grids
can help improve system security by enabling better demand response at a
Better demand response can improve grid security by allowing more load to be shed in a managed manner during times of shortage.
will benefit from smart grids through improved asset management and
monitoring, because transmission lines and cables will be able to be
constantly monitored for signs of distress. This will improve
reliability and enable the early detection and identification of faults,
as well as automatic reporting through to control centres in real time.
Smart grids also provide a unique opportunity in the rebuild of
Christchurch and for Christchurch to become a leading example of
efficient and renewable urban energy systems, and sustainable disaster
Larger consumers with half-hourly meters have the ability to receive price signals that reflect the true cost of supply.
The deployment of smart meters will enable real-time price signals to be sent to the majority of consumers.
it will not always be appropriate for all consumers in all
circumstances to be fully exposed to real-time price signals, this
ability will open up many new pricing and product opportunities for
retailers, particularly when the smart meter can be connected to devices
that can respond to price signals automatically.
will allow some consumers to participate directly in the market through
the bidding in of demand response, or to turn off or curtail demand to
avoid high prices using smart appliances.
For example, trials by Mercury Energy show householders who use up-to-the-minute data can cut their use by 10%.
meters will also help keep retail prices down by reducing meter reading
costs faced by retailers and improving the accuracy and timeliness of
Enabling new technology
New Zealand has not mandated a standard for smart meters.
metering in New Zealand is governed by the Electricity Authority, under
part 10 of the Electricity Industry Governance Code. These regulations
cover, among other things, standards on data access and communication
between participants in the electricity market.
To achieve these
benefits we need to ensure there is a robust and constructive dialogue
between all involved parties – consumers (households, businesses),
electricity retailers, distributors, Transpower, policy makers and
The work being
undertaken by the Electricity Authority and initiatives such as this
report from the ENA will help greatly to ensure that New Zealand remains
well positioned to exploit smart network technology as it evolves.
I welcome this initiative from the ENA. It will do much to promote smart network technology. Consider it duly launched!