GCC utilities 'can save $10bn with smart tech'
Dubai, February 15, 2010
GCC utilities and governments can save around $5 billion-$10 billion in investments up until 2020 by opting for Smart technologies, according to experts at AT Kearney, a leading global management consultancy.
In the Middle East there are typical peak loads during summer time when all air conditioning systems are switched on, but there are also variations which need to be managed throughout the day. Based on analysis of the utilities and energy sector, AT Kearney foresees that the Middle East is at the edge of a 'Smart Revolution', which may lead to a fast roll out of smart technologies in the region.
Smart meters and Smart grids provide a solution to manage these fluctuations efficiently as they balance the load in the grid by combining real-time consumption information from smart meters with supplier information from the electricity generators to avoid black outs, the report said.
“Smart meters are the technology of the future to measure real-time electricity which enable consumers for the first time to control and monitor their electricity consumption via the internet or home displays. Pilots have shown that ‘consumption aware’ and ‘informed customers’ reduce their consumption by around 10 per cent,” said, Christian von Tschirschky, principal, AT Kearney Middle East.
“We anticipate this effect will be even higher if the current highly subsidised energy prices increase,” he continued.
Beyond behavioural changes the 'Smart Revolution' allows direct intervention of the utility company during peak times into selected consumers’ consumption, for example via a smart control of air conditioners.
“At AT Kearney we estimate that GCC utilities and governments can avoid investments of around $5-10 billion into peak load capacities, up until 2020. In addition they can potentially reduce the peak load demand by 10-20 per cent through effective customer behavior changes, that evolve with smart metering implementation and the usage of remote control of air conditioning systems,” stated von Tschirschky.
AT Kearney foresees that the need to integrate renewable energy sources with fluctuating load levels such as solar, wind and others into the energy grid will drive the need for a ‘Smart Grid’ that combines consumption data collected by smart meters with generation data. Positioning companies or countries as ‘green’ and deploying state-of-the-art technologies that focus on sustainability will further drive the implementation of smart metering technologies.
“In the Middle East we are seeing the first regional directives focusing on improving energy efficiency, something that cannot be achieved without smart metering. The UAE, Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries are currently piloting smart technologies, and are expected to adopt these approaches quickly.”
“The investments in smart metering will pay-off, considering the cost reduction in operations and the reduced investment demand for additional power plants. It is an efficient way of managing and securing electricity supply as well as the future contributions from alternative energy,” concluded von Tschirschky.-TradeArabia News Service
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