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Advanced Metering Infrastructure(AMI): Appropriate areas for application in WA.

Wellington, Brenten (2013) Advanced Metering Infrastructure(AMI): Appropriate areas for application in WA. Internship Report, Murdoch University.



As a requirement of the Murdoch University Environmental Engineering Degree, Brenten Wellington undertook enrolment in ENG450 Engineering Internship. The internship took place at ENV Australia, a firm of environmental management consultants, which is located on Murray Street in Perth, Western Australia. Throughout the internship work was completed under the supervision of the industry supervisor, Principal Consultant Jim Singleton, and academic supervisor Dr Martin Anda who also worked at ENV Australia as a Principal Engineer, Sustainability.

The main focus of this internship as set out in the work placement agreement is as follows;

• Gain exposure to a range of experiences that conform to elements of competency;
• Acquire an ability to assimilate theoretical knowledge gained at Murdoch with practical considerations evidenced in a work environment;
• Gain an appreciation of work practices, techniques and culture relevant to a specific discipline;
• Develop enhanced ability to think clearly, critically and creatively when solving problems, by fusing experience, reason and training into considered judgment through job specific problem solving;

• Develop enhanced ability to communicate outcomes and deliver presentations in the workplace context;
• Acquire and/or develop a capacity for and an understanding of teamwork in a workplace context; and
• Complete agreed reporting activities to document and describe these workplace activities for assessment within the School in which the Student is studying.

At ENV Australia a number of projects were worked on in the areas of water management, sustainability and environmental management. Due to the broad nature of projects that were worked on throughout the internship, a focus was taken on Smart Metering and Advanced Metering Infrastructure. It was this focus in which the following report was developed. “Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI): Appropriate areas for application in WA”.

Electrical and water utilities in Australia and around the globe begun to look at smart meters (SM) as a technology that would allow them to better manage the resources at hand. While this was occurring there were a number of issues that were raised;

• Customers were becoming concerned about climate change and the environment,
• Industries were unprepared with a major new problem of resource efficiency,
• Resource prices begun to significantly rise for customers and the industries were incapable of adapting to these changes in society and in the market.

In Australia SM rollouts begun to occur in the energy sector with this technology capable of numerous benefits including resource efficiency.

By the time a number of SM programmes and projects began to rollout there was an understanding with many experts that the challenges at hand would require a much more sophisticated resource management system. Smart grids were the answer to this.

Although this was now known, the rather rapid changes that have occurred left utilities at a stand-­‐ still, with a number of issues beginning to rise once again;

• Climate change policies put a higher price on the largest polluters, with smart technologies able to assist with this,
• Under-­‐investment into infrastructure has meant improved maintenance and management is not possible,
• Renewable energy initiatives such as Photovoltaics (PV) and Electric vehicles (EV) required much more sophisticated infrastructure
• Customers required smart infrastructure to help them better manage their water and electricity use

It became obvious that a complete transformation of the resource industry was now required. Though these changes are well beyond the capabilities of these industries alone, it will require a broad collaboration of sectors and a number of issues to be addressed at a State, Federal, Organisation and Industry level.

Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) will be a major focus point in developing a smart grid not only in Western Australia, but globally, and provide the integration of the various sectors and projects in order to complete this transformation.

Item Type: Internship Report (Bachelor of Engineering)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering and Information Technology
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