Australia, having set an ambitious national target of renewable sources supplying 20% of its electricity by 2020, is at the forefront of modernization. The utility industry must modernize: but how to do so is not entirely clear. The 10th Annual Smart Utilities Australia & New Zealand is the region’s largest conference and exhibition, gathering electricity retailers and distributors from throughout the region in Melbourne on Nov. 20-22.

“Utilities worldwide are at a strategic crossroad: The 21st century economy cannot rely on a 20th century grid,” said Daria La Valle, Program Manager for Smart Utilities Australia & New Zealand. “Customers continue to demand greater reliability and cost containment, even as their lives become more electricity-intensive. Add to this the continued growth of renewable power generation and the introduction of emerging technologies like EVs and HANs and it is clear the industry faces numerous challenges.”

“Our program is developed for and by the industry,” said La Valle. “New this year is the Smart Utilities Australia & New Zealand Advisory Committee, consisting of 41 key utility industry professionals, offering their elaborate expertise and fresh industry insights to ensure the program covers those topics that are of real interest to utilities in the region.”

Topics / Challenges to be discussed at Smart Utilities Australia & New Zealand include:

  • -How can we make sure that smart technologies deliver benefits for both the utility and the customer?
  • -How can we engage and educate consumers to take an active role and be more energy efficient?
  • -What lessons can be learnt from regional and international utilities’ smart grid trials and initiatives?
  • -How can we ensure that new technologies like renewables, electric vehicles and smart homes are an opportunity instead of a threat for utilities?
  • -To what extent can water utilities learn from their electricity counterparts by looking at new ways to improve efficiency and sustainability?

Speaker Highlights include:

  • -Felicia Brady, General Manager Program Delivery (Acting), Origin Energy, Australia
  • -Dr. Robert Simpson, Consultant, Demand Management and Sustainability, Ausgrid, Australia
  • -Peter Bryant, General Manager, AMI Services, CitiPower Pty & Powercor Australia Ltd
  • -Glenn Walden, Group Manager, Emerging Opportunities and Technology Development, Ergon Energy Corp Ltd, Australia
  • -Naokatsu Akioka, Smart Energy House Project, Engineering Department ,Osaka Gas, Japan
  • -John Theunissen, Director Smart Networks, SP AusNet, Australia
  • -Cameron O’Reilly, CEO, Energy Retailers Association of Australia (ERAA), Australia
  • -Bob Heile, Chairman, ZigBee Alliance, USA
  • -Ken Thompson, Manager, Water Quality and Non-Revenue Water, Yarra Valley Water, Australia
  • -Andrew Chapman, Water System Manager, South East Water Limited, Australia

At the multi-track conference, carefully selected utility professionals will present updates on their latest project experiences, results and steps forward. International case studies from the USA, Europe and Asia will encourage participants to stay tuned with the latest innovations and successes. Forward-thinking technology providers and think tanks will explain how the evolution of smart technologies and smart appliances will have an impact on utilities’ current business processes and investment strategies. The targeted, large scale exhibition will provide an excellent opportunity for visitors to get informed about the latest technologies and solutions to make their next steps more successful and to better prepare themselves for the ultimate Smart Grid.