Asia’s need for a smarter grid

Asia’s energy challenges can be transformed into opportunities with the smart grid
Published: Wed 13 Jul 2016

Asia’s vast size and unique differences make for a highly complex region when it comes to analysing their energy sector.

Some countries are challenged simply by increasing electrification rates, while others are challenged by reliability, integration of renewables, and revenue management. However, there is a common theme of many utilities across the Asia Pacific region-generation shortages.

Energy consumption across the region is currently among the lowest in the world however the growth is expected to far outpace the rest of the world. The supply is not growing proportionately with this demand, and this further magnifies some of the other challenges such as losses and reliability.

Utilities are facing real challenges in this region and it is clear that there are opportunities for existing smart grid technologies to bring tangible and significant value to both utilities and consumers in the near term. That is a huge benefit for these utilities and consumers, they have the ability to leverage a technology that has already been proven at large scale, and therefore their risk is significantly reduced and benefits can be realized right away.  

Smart grid-a real game changer


Yen-haw Chen, Vice Secretary General, Taiwan Smart Grid Industry Association (TSGIA) spoke about Taiwan's smart grid evolution at the Engerati studio at Asian Utility Week 2016 and pointed out that the smart grid will  be a real game changer for the region’s power industry as it provides the opportunity for utilities to become ancillary service providers, creating new streams of revenue.

He recommends that utilities put a long term plan into place, check existing resources and pinpoint weaknesses in the power system which need to be fixed with the help of smart technology. 

Frederic Vassort, CEO, Ampacimon spoke about flexibility for the power grid and how smart grid and technologies can help create a more flexible grid. He explains how dynamic line rating (DLR) systems for T&D system operators can create this flexibility when it comes to renewable integration especially.

He says: “Renewables emergence is the main driver for smart grids in Asia. It is increasing fast and in response, old grids will have to be modernised. Predictable grids and consumers no longer exist and utilities must accommodate for this shift.”

He adds that there is great value in sharing knowledge between countries because “there is no need to reinvent the wheel.  Asia’s utilities should share their knowledge when it comes to technologies and they are bound to reap the benefits as a result.

Smart grid offers Asia opportunities


Bryan Spear, MD, Asia Pacific, Trilliant walked us through Asia’s evolutions from smart metering and smart grids. He says that the major challenge for the region is growth in energy consumption as a result of improving lifestyle standards. He explains that the region’s GDP is supposed to triple and this will drive consumption. He says: “There is a transition from smart grid to smart cities. Utilities need to be looking at opportunities when it comes to using networks for smart devices and services and they should look for new revenue streams. He explains that the smart grid should be used to work more proactively and engage with customers and this is where technology is needed. “Bring value to customers and in turn, utilities can improve their market share.”