Oct. 1, 2012
-- The appeal of a Smart Grid lies in its potential to greatly improve the efficiency and stability of the nation’s power infrastructure. MENA regions must pump almost $250bn into the power sector to expand and meet the demand from both commercial and residential sectors, according to estimates by the Saudi-based Arab Petroleum Investment Corporation (APICORP), an affiliate of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC). The recent past has shown that not all Utilities are open to upgrading their power grids to the Smart Grids. Reasons vary from dynamic pricing that investors don't see value in challenging business environments that are non conducive.
Director of Special Projects, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), U.A.E, Albertus Kleinveld said “Not all the utilities are open to upgrading Power Grids to Smarter Grids. The barriers faced by utilities to implement Smart Grid technology are umpteen. Smart Grids has gained importance in areas, regions, countries and governments with a highly industrialized economy tied in with high utility pricing. The goal of Smart Grids, first and foremost, is for utilities to use the information to operate their grids more efficiently. Utilities do have their focus on moving from commodity providers to trusted energy advisors of a transformed energy market place, secondly there must be a return on the investment to make this attractive. This can hardly be achieved in countries with low utility pricing, other than with huge subsidies. With ongoing privatization through PPP’s, foreign investors are reluctant to invest in public utilities when the system is based on subsidies and a market driven economy is far more attractive to any foreign investor. Public owned utilities will have a hard time to create consumer awareness and change behavior patterns concerning energy consumption when utility pricing is being subsidized. What is the incentive to save, if you get it for (almost) free?”
Forrest Small, Director – Energy at Navigant says “ Issues related to technology maturity and risk are important considerations. So is the cost of the deployment and the lack of a clear business case for some utilities. I think some utilities are waiting to see how early deployments go, and they will adjust their strategies according to the outcomes. In cases where outside regulatory approval is necessary, navigating this process may also be causing delays.”
Fleming Gulf's 2nd Annual Smart Grids And Smart Meters Summit to be held on 8th & 9th October 2012 at the Park Rotana, Abu Dhabi – U.A.E. will host key industry leaders and technology partners to discuss solutions that closely connect utilities and their customers while also managing distribution and substation automation. The goal of the summit is to pave a path to implementation of a truly intelligent power system that delivers on efficiency as well as modernizing infrastructure.