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The smart grid is a broad collection of technologies that delivers an electricity network that is flexible, accessible, reliable and economic. Smart grid facilitates the desired actions of its users and these may include distributed generation, the deployment of demand management and energy storage systems or the optimal expansion and management of grid assets. Major international programs include the European Union Smart Grid Technology Platform and the US 2030 Smart Grid vision. This paper examines the evolution of smart grid technology globally and nationally. It highlights those areas which have not yet been fully addressed in the Australian context.