Engerati’s Week In Smart Energy

Published: Wed 08 Jul 2015
A blog entry by Jonathan Spencer Jones

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Jonathan Spencer Jones
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The energy sector is changing rapidly and radically. Two examples of this are the setting of a 100% renewable target in Hawaii and New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV). In a sense these are two sides of the same coin as these two US states look to secure their energy future. In Hawaii the focus is on renewables development, which, with the growth of decentralized home and business generation to meet the targets, will inevitably involve a change in the business model. [Hawaii Looks To 100% Renewables] Hawaii Electric is currently seeking changes to the billing for solar customers to cover grid operations and maintenance costs, and further changes will become necessary as these numbers increase.

New York’s REV is considering a fundamental revision of the utility business model, for which a regulatory proceeding is currently under way. The latest development is a plan to coordinate the activities of the state energy agencies and authorities. [New York Energy Vision Reform A Step Closer] For a plan of the nature of REV it is critical that all the parties are on the same page and that their resources - including a proposed US$5 billion over the next ten years - are appropriately focused.

Africa and Asia challenges

While the challenges in the US and regions such as Europe are based on climate concerns, in Africa and Asia the challenges pertain more to access and infrastructure. Based on tens of interviews over the past four years (available on Engerati’s YouTube channel) and particularly those at the recent Africa Energy Forum, we present Engerati’s view on the importance of renewables for electrification in Africa and the challenges for project execution and how this may be advanced. [The African power landscape – A continent on the tipping point?] Africa is uniquely positioned to have an energy mix which may be between 40%-80% renewables in some regions, and neither finance nor technology are barriers.

Asia’s energy market is also under the spotlight as we continue to unpack the interviews at Asian Utility Week. It is a region with varying power opportunities and challenges, and huge market opportunities. [Asia’s Diverse Energy Needs Are Creating Large Market Opportunities]

The challenges of small islands reliant on imported fuel are starkly described in a guest editorial by Jacqui Christian, the Pitcairn Islands government’s European Representative. [Pitcairn Islands Looks To Renewables] There, to limit the high costs, electricity is limited to just 15 hours per day, despite the impact on communications and business development. The Islands are now looking to renewables to improve supply and reduce costs. Initiatives are also  under way at European level to support the energy development of the more than 20 Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT).

Every two years Europe’s transmission system operators (TSO) review their development plans and the latest review is currently under way with proposals for several new interconnections, particularly with countries around the periphery of the region. [European Transmission Priorities To 2030] In all 164 transmission and 14 storage candidate projects are proposed in the plans.

Enjoy reading these and other stories on Engerati.