Smart Grid in a New Zealand Context
Early in 2011 a report was commissioned by Transpower New Zealand Limited and the Ministry of Science and Innovation into Smart Grid in a New Zealand context. In New Zealand, plans for a Smart Grid will likely differ from those in other countries. This is because New Zealand is starting from a different position than the rest of the world. For example, the generation mix in New Zealand is fairly unique compared with other countries, with New Zealand having a large renewable base compared with many countries having a large thermal base capacity. In addition, many countries see load management as an area Smart Grids could improve their system. In the New Zealand context direct control is already widely used via ripple control of hot water heating and contracted interruptible load. However, it must be said that ripple control system would now be considered low spec by today’s standards and regulatory and market drivers have over recent years resulted in a general erosion of capabilities. Thus there is a need for the industry to become pro-active in this and other Smart Grid areas. The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the main findings of the report and to present this information to a wider audience than might otherwise see it. For those who are interested, the full report can be found in . The paper begins by examining what progress has been made toward Smart Grids in other countries and the progress of smart grid standards. This is followed by an overview of some of the significant steps towards a smart grid that have been made in New Zealand. The paper then finishes with some concluding remarks.