Australian Computer Society
Canberra Branch Forum - March
The SMART GRID - The looming energy revolutionTuesday 1st March 2011 4:30pm registration for 5:00pm start
The electricity grid hasn't changed a lot since Edisson invented the lightbulb - but there are lots of new challenges on the horizon. Our appetite for energy is seemingly insatiable - and our modern lifestyle as well as economic prosperity depend heavily on access to energy. However, with electricity consumption being the single largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, we cannot afford to meet rising demand by simply burning more fossil fuels as we have done in the past. Adding to the challenge, technology is advancing on many fronts and the grid is getting left behind: More energy is being generated from renewable sources - many of them intermittent - and the the pattern of electricity flows is starting to evolve from a purely radial architecture to more of a mesh. Its a bit like the transition we've seen in the ICT industry - from mainframes and dumb terminals to an Internet where resources come and go and information flows in every direction.
Electric vehicles are becoming more popular. Unless well managed, they could contribute to massive new spikes in demand - spikes that the grid is not engineered to cope with. Appliances are getting smarter, and will increasingly incorporate energy management features.
In summary, a storm of change is brewing on the horizon, and its time for a revolution in the electricity industry. This talk will look at the challenges and the opportunities as the grid enters an era of transformation that is perhaps best paralleled by what broadband did for the telecommunications industry.
Biography: Robin Eckermann
- Formal qualifications in Computing & Philosophy
- Adjunct Professor, University of Canberra, since 2005
- 2006 Charles Todd Orator (for the Telecommunications Society of Australia)
- Founding sponsor of Broadband for Environmental Sustainability Challenge
- Vice President, Smart Grid Australia
Robin is widely acknowledged as a pioneer in the Australian broadband industry, having led the establishment of TransACT's $250m fibre-to-the-kerb network in Canberra a decade before the idea of a National Broadband Network came onto the radar. Since retiring as TransACT's Chief Architect in 2003, Robin has been working around Australia on fibre-to-the-home projects around Australia, and it is his interest in communications as a vital foundation for the next generation of electricity network that has driven his involvement with Smart Grids in Australia.
A Google search on a target such as “+eckermann +broadband” will give an indication of his more recent professional activities.