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The Hon Peter Garrett AM MP
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts

Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy
Minister for Broadband, Communication and the Digital Economy

The Hon Martin Ferguson MP
Minister for Resources and Energy Minister for Tourism

New national energy efficiency initiative

Joint media release
12 May 2009

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The Rudd Government will invest up to $100.0 million in partnership with the energy sector for the development of a new National Energy Efficiency Initiative - using 21st century technology to assist our transition to a low carbon economy by encouraging a smarter and more efficient energy network.

This initiative builds on the Government's unprecedented investment in the National Broadband Network, household energy efficiency and renewable energy, including the $3.9 billion Energy Efficient Homes Package that provides rebates for the installation of insulation and solar hot water systems, the new Solar Credits Scheme supporting home micro-generation, and the expanded Solar Cities program.

Smart grid technology uses sensors to monitor electricity supply across distribution networks using communications networks, such as broadband technology. Smart grids help to more easily integrate renewable energy like solar and wind power into the grid, and enable energy generated in homes, schools and businesses to be stored and shared.

Combined with smart meters in homes, this technology will allow consumers to access immediate information on how much energy they are using, at what cost, and how they can save money. It will also allow for more efficient and reliable network operation.

Work will begin immediately to identify opportunities to demonstrate this innovative smart grid network through the National Energy Efficiency Initiative.

Subject to an implementation study, the demonstration project will lead to an integrated system of renewable energy, smart grid and smart meter technology and infrastructure in one Australian city, town or region. It will bring together electricity power generation, transmission, and distribution providers as well as private partners and IT experts, and will inform the wider national deployment of smart grid technologies.

It will also examine links with the National Broadband Network and work closely with the Ministerial Council on Energy's National Stakeholder Steering Committee providing advice on the national smart metering program. By investing in this project now, Australia will be better placed to take advantage of the capabilities of the National Broadband Network, including the rollout of smart grid networks across the country.

The Government has invested heavily in energy efficiency and is determined that Australia now takes the next step to harness new technologies that drive even further energy efficiency.

The National Energy Efficiency Initiative will position Australia to be at the forefront of global efforts to use energy more efficiently as part of our broader commitment to combat climate change.

Commonwealth of Australia