The smart grid is Argentina’s answer to improve demand management and energy efficiency, writes Metering.com.
The country’s government intends to include the smart grid in its national plan for science, technology and innovation to 2020.
Two smart grid pilot projects are already in the pipeline for Argentina, according to the government’s departments of energy and science, technology and innovation. Ruth Ladenheim, planning secretary in the science ministry, has promised that funding will be made available over the next few years to support the increasing number of smart energy projects.
According to Argentina’s energy secretary, Daniel Cameron, smart grids are a “win-win situation.” Cameron points out that the maximum energy production was reached last winter and therefore a solution is needed to ensure improved demand management and energy efficiency.
At the most recent meeting of the US-Argentina Bi-national Energy Working Group, it has been found that there is a need for regulation and standardization in Argentina. For instance, there is currently no standard for grid connection of small scale generation. In addition, meter standards also require an upgrade.
Argentina’s Energy Secretariat, the market administrator Cammesa, the transmission system operator Transener, and the distributors’ association Adeera organized the meeting.
Metering.com reports that several projects are already underway, each around a few hundred metering points, including those by Edenor in Buenos Aires, by EPEC in Córdoba, by Energía San Juan in San Juan, and by EDET in Tucumán. The Argentine government is currently putting finance in to place for the launch of two pilot projects which will be launched within the next year. The first will be with the Cooperative of Works and Public Services in Armstrong, Santa Fe province, and the other is with the Electricity Cooperative of Trenque Lauquen, Buenos Aires province. Each includes at least 1,000 smart meters.
Research company, Northeast Group, in its South America Smart Grid Market Forecast (2011-2020), predicts that the Latin American smart meter market will reach 104.5 million meters and US$25.1bn by 2020. The report estimates that Argentina will deploy 4.9 million smart meters within the next 10 years. Brazil will likely be first to begin large-scale deployments, with Chile and Argentina to follow. The Northeast Group LLC says that South America lags behind other emerging markets. However, this is about to change as governments see the advantages of developing a regulatory framework to encourage a smart grid. The key drivers for the region to adopt the smart grid includes:
- High per capita energy consumption rate
- Escalating non-technical electricity losses (theft)
- Large potential for distributed generation
Ruth Ladenheim, planning secretary in the science ministry, says that the smart grid is “key to the rational use of energy in Argentina” and adds, “’Smart’ is all around us, and it’s about developing a smart society.”
While the smart grid will greatly improve Argentina’s energy demand management and energy efficiency levels, the country continues to face limited energy production levels. The absence of long term policies and strategic planning over the last 10 years has led to a loss of self-sufficiency. [Read: IAE: Argentina on brink of unprecedented energy crisis]