EnergyAustralia taps Cisco for smart grid

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EnergyAustralia taps Cisco for smart grid

First order for IPv6 networking in 25 substations could lead to state-wide rollout.

EnergyAustralia will spend $7.5 million on Cisco networking gear in 25 substations at its smart grid demonstration project in Newcastle, an order that could grow to its 200 sites as the NSW energy provider builds its next-generation network.

The Cisco Connected Grid switches and routers were designed to work in sites where the mercury climbed to 65 degrees and were subjected to excessive dust and contaminants, the partners said.

EnergyAustralia was building a $570 million smart-grid network to more efficiently shunt power around the state and to charge for its use based on factors such as time of day.

The utility last month signed a three-year, $100 million agreement with the Federal Government to build a test bed connecting up to 50,000 households to validate its business assumptions.

The Cisco Pv6 switches released in May will speed the time it took to repair faults and connect devices in the substations, the utility said.

Cisco has provided such smart grid networking equipment to power utilities including Duke Energy, Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas and Electric and operators in Europe.

Sydney energy consultant Keith Orchison has argued it could cost $130 billion over the next decade to upgrade Australia's power grid.

EnergyAustralia will present at the IQPC Second National Smart Grids Forum in Sydney tomorrow.

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