Week in smart metering - electricity transformation unstoppable

Low fossil fuel prices will fail to prevent a tip towards terminal decline, writes Amy Ryan, assistant editor, Metering & Smart Energy International.
Published: Wed 15 Jun 2016

With renewables establishing a strong foothold in the global power generation market, it was not surprising to read that coal and gas are forecast to “begin their terminal decline in the next decade” – this according to a recent Bloomberg report. [Global power generation investment to reach US$11.4tn]

The New Energy Outlook 2016 complied by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) notes that while low coal and gas prices persist, they “will fail to prevent a fundamental transformation of the world electricity system over coming decades towards renewable sources such as wind and solar …”

Seb Henbest, the report's lead author, said: "You can't fight the future. The economics are increasingly locked in."

Solar is clearly a dominant force. According to BNEF’s New Energy Outlook, global electricity will attract US$7.8 trillion in renewable power investment, US$3.4 trillion of which is forecast for solar energy.

Just last week, Metering & Smart Energy International reported that the Chilean government is giving away free electricity due to a surplus in solar generation. [Solar surplus sees Chilean consumers receive free electricity]

In an interview with Colton Ching, vice president for Energy Delivery at Hawaiian Electric, spoke about the utility’s numerous grid modernisation efforts to accommodate the increase in customer-generated solar.

Ching alluded to the fact the utility faces a unique challenge in that it operates smaller island grids, as opposed to grids operated by larger utilities in North America, which are often in a better position to host increasing amounts of solar.

In the 2016 edition of the Global Smart Energy Elites, this brings together the very best smart energy projects worldwide and the people that have shaped the industry.

The Energy Revolution category considers energy projects which have delivered a significant capacity of renewable generation to the grid, integrated innovative technology enabled services and successfully demonstrated the “revolution” journey.

Don’t forget to download your nomination form today!

More from Metering & Smart Energy International

According to a recent Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecast, investment in global power generation will reach US$11.4 trillion over the next 25 years. The forecast notes that electricity demand will be boosted by at least 8% in 2040 owing to the increase of electric vehicles. {Global power generation investment to reach US$11.4tn]. A Bloomberg release says that coal and gas prices will continue to remain relatively low, but “will fail to prevent a fundamental transformation of the world electricity system over coming decades towards renewable sources such as wind and solar, and towards balancing options such as batteries.”

Grid solutions provider S&C Electric purchases a 7MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) for a energy storage project in the US state of Ohio. Following the procurement of the BESS, the smart grid solutions firm entered into a Power Purchase Agreement with the local municipal utility in the village of Minster, in Auglaize County, Ohio. [S&C Electric procures energy storage system for solar project]. The utility will be provided electricity generated from a 4.2MW solar PV plant and stored using the new storage system.

The German National Meteorological Service has partnered with the Institute of Wind Energy and Energy System Technology (IWES) to better predict renewable energy output. The collaboration of the two parties has led to the development and launch of a new system to help predict the feed of power from wind and solar energy resources, in line with weather conditions. [Renewable energy: Germany unveils weather forecasting tech]. The system - EnergyForecaster - helps transmission system operators (TSO) to meet grid load demands by providing insight into how much power is and can be generated, according to local media.

The global smart grid IT systems market is forecast to grow at a CAGR of close to 13% by 2020, according to analysts’ predictions at Technavio. According to a company release, the growing need for improved grid reliability, efficiency, control voltage fluctuation, and integration of renewables has pushed utilities to look out for solutions in managing new assets. [Smart grid IT systems market up 13% annually by 2020]. As a result, analytics has become a key driver of the global smart grid IT systems market, with IT solutions such as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) being offered to utilities.