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Sydney, Australia - 31 Mar 2009: EnergyAustralia, the country’s largest electricity distribution network, today announced an agreement with IBM for the implementation of an energy network monitoring and control solution.
A key project within EnergyAustralia’s overall intelligent network program, the Distribution Monitoring and Control (DM&C) project involves the roll-out of 12,000 sensing devices throughout the electricity distribution network, creating a smart grid.
The project will enable EnergyAustralia to deliver energy more efficiently and reliably, and allow a greater number and range of environmental solutions to be integrated into the electricity network such as renewable energy.
Under the initial agreement, worth AU$3.2 million, IBM will design and build the system IT architecture to support the project, in which sensing devices will connect with EnergyAustralia’s operational systems using a combination of fourth generation and existing technologies.
This world-class intelligent network will carry the necessary data for EnergyAustralia to reduce outages through faster fault location and preventative maintenance and, to work towards managing distributed energy sources such as solar and storage devices.
EnergyAustralia’s Managing Director George Maltabarow said the project was an important part of the company’s initial investment of AU$170 million in its smart network rollout.
“This project will help us stay at the forefront of the global intelligent network transformation,” Mr Maltabarow said. “It will give us an instant picture of the electricity network which will help shorten power interruptions by allowing us to quickly locate and repair faults.
“It will also mean preventative maintenance can be better targeted so we can avoid faults and outages in the first place.”
EnergyAustralia began its intelligent network program in 2006. It was the first utility in the world to build and operate a communications network using carrier grade Internet Protocol (IP) technology. EnergyAustralia has also rolled out 800 kilometres of fibre optic cable to its 200 major substations and depots, installed hundreds of communications switches, and built a trial telecommunications network to allow two-way communication across its electricity network.
IBM has a proven capability in intelligent network transformation, working with utilities around the world both in the mature markets of Europe and North America, and in growth regions such as India and China. In February, IBM won a 70 million Euro agreement to establish an end-to-end electricity and water smart utility system in Malta.
In addition to consulting, systems integration and IT services expertise, IBM has invested heavily in solutions such as Tivoli Netcool and WebSphere DataPower to assist utilities in realising their intelligent network visions.
“IBM is delighted to bring its infrastructure, systems integration and project management expertise to bear on this ground-breaking transformation project,” said David Murray, General Manager, IBM Communications Sector.
“Only through the creation of a smart network that can sense, communicate, analyse and respond, can Australia build the energy infrastructure it needs to meet the challenges of climate change, globalisation, and changing consumer demand.”
Earlier this month, IBM launched its ‘Smarter Planet’ vision to create a sustainable economic and environmental future for Australia. At a briefing attended by media, analysts and industry representatives, IBM urged business and government to take advantage of latent technologies and the current focus on infrastructure to build smarter, more intelligent systems for managing interactions between people, organisations, and natural and man-made systems.
About intelligent utility networks
An intelligent utility network fundamentally transforms the way power is generated, distributed and used, adding intelligence throughout the grid to dramatically reduce outages and faults, improve responsiveness, handle current and future demand, increase efficiency and manage costs. Consumers can interact with the utility network in multiple, convenient ways; select customized services and pricing options; and gain near real-time visibility into their usage and costs. The intelligent electricity network also helps consumers actively participate in solving critical energy problems by making smart homes and energy-conscious choices possible.
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