Asian Utility Week proved to be a very busy and insightful one for the Engerati studio which was located at the event in Bangkok. We interviewed 33 professionals in the energy industry, some of whom are located in Asia while others, although from various parts of the globe, shared their views on the many exciting developments taking place across Asia.
Digital transformation and customer centricity
The first day highlighted the many opportunities in Asia's digital transformation and the move towards a more customer centric approach. An increase in renewable generation also seemed to be a major focus point at the event.
The utilities we interviewed were excited to speak about their short and long term goals. Mirwair Alami, Chief Commercial Officer at DABS (Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat) gave an update on their CASA-1000 power project and the opportunities that it has created for the country. The success of this and other projects appears to be attracting a great deal of interest from foreign investors.
Jose Antonio Valdez, VP and Head of Marketing Customer Solutions and Product Development at Meralco, gave an overview of its energy efficiency strategy which is already seeing much success and Dr Chen Shiun, General Manager, Research and Development at Sarawak Energy highlighted the opportunities that the hydropower Murum project has created for local business.
Frost and Sullivan's Principal Consultant Adhishek Kumar, gave us some insight into the developments as well as the challenges of AMI in Asia. He also shared some valuable advice for both investors and utilities in Asia when it comes to taking advantage of the digital transformation in the region. Dr Sukanta Kumar Jena, the Head of China, Hong Kong and South East Asia at Cyient, also spoke about the many opportunities in the region for AMI and how best to harness the potential. Azmy Ameer, Director at BBS Access in Singapore spoke about the enabling of the AMI future of emerging markets and also about addressing the challenges and converting these into economic opportunities.
Transforming Asia’s challenges into opportunities
Day two’s studio interviews gave us a deeper insight into Asia's energy challenges as well as its great potential.
The need for innovation in Asia's energy sector was a common theme and our interview with James Colbert and Richard McIndoe of Edge Electrons, which won the Asian Innovation Award at the event, highlighted this.
Stefan Padberg, MD at RWE New Ventures LLC, pointed to markets and countries in Southeast Asia that are of particular interest to the company as far as innovation is concerned and Professor Teddy Puttgen, Senior Director at Energy Research Institute Nanyang Technological University also highlighted the importance of innovation in the energy sector as it seeks to change energy mixes and improve efficiency. Dr Bartosz Wojszczyk, President and CEO at Decision Point Global, said that startups needed more support and that a "one stop" service would help them further develop their potential.
Csilla Kohalmi-Monfils, EVP Strategy and New Business, ENGIE Asia Pacifics, says that utilities should recognise the importance of embracing change and creating new business models despite policies that often stand in the way of development.
Major growth for Smart Grid Developments
Smart grid developments are seeing major growth in Asia as countries scramble to meet escalating consumption levels. Nguyen Minh Quang, Power System Expert at Vietnam Electricity's (EVN) Power System Analysis and Planning Department, underlined the opportunities that the smart grid will bring to the country especially when it comes to renewable integration and Dr Yen-Haw Chen, Deputy Secretary General at Taiwan Smart Grid Industry Association explained how smart grids are currently playing a key role in Taiwan's sustainable development.
The importance of the distributed energy system was highlighted as critical to improving access levels in the region. Igor Leroux, Director of Business Development APAC, AutoGrid Systems, explained the importance of low risk, fast implementation and rapid deployment of these systems.
The interviews during the last day of the event certainly highlighted the vast potential in the region's energy development and that Asia's utility business models are currently undergoing major transformation, with innovation and the evolution of technology enabling this.
The next year should prove to be an exciting one for local utilities, investors and vendors and we can't wait to follow up on the region's progress.