The $100 million initiative will see Government and energy and communications sectors working in partnership to deploy Australia's first commercial-scale smart grid, with the potential to reduce home energy bills, cut carbon pollution and help in the fight against climate change.
Announcing the opening of the tender process in Queanbeyan, Environment Minister Peter Garrett said this commercial-scale trial was an exciting new chapter for Australia's energy efficiency network.
"Smart grids provide greater ability to incorporate and distribute renewable energy, save money through cutting-edge 'self-healing' technologies, and reduced demand, and empower consumers to manage their energy use.
"From the power plant to the power point, smart grids enable a two-way flow of information between energy suppliers and consumers."
"Like an 'energy internet', smart grids enable energy to be delivered where and when it is required, improving reliability and reducing losses; the potential economic and environmental benefits are staggering.
"Early estimates show that if smart grid applications are adopted around Australia they could deliver significant economic and environmental benefits to the Australian economy, including an estimated minimum reduction of 3.5 mega-tonnes of carbon emissions per annum."
Energy Minister Martin Ferguson said: "this program is a good opportunity to test the costs and benefits of smart grid and smart meter applications before a wider regulated rollout of smart meters in certain jurisdictions in coming years."