Over the two days of last month’s Asian Utility Week, Engerati spoke to over 30 professionals from or working in the region, who shared their views on the many exciting developments taking place. [Asia’s energy experts share their views live] On the first day much of the focus was on 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. On the second day Asia’s energy challenges and the region’s great potential came to the fore. The need for innovation also was a common theme underpinning the changing business models.
A key requirement for a new technology such as storage is that its value is recognized from a regulatory perspective so that utilities and third parties can factor it into rate cases or decide on its potential investment value. FERC in the US is currently undertaking an investigation on energy storage participation in wholesale energy markets. While the California ISO and PJM markets have some rules in place, other markets have no storage operating to date. In a submission from the Energy Storage Association in the US, it was noted that policy is significantly lagging the technology. [FERC to remove market barriers to energy storage systems]
India, a country facing tremendous challenges with its electric sector, is also not one to do anything by halves when it comes to trying to meet these. Consider, for example, the 400GW of rooftop solar by 2022 plan or the 100 Smart Cities initiative. Now, and with electrification for the 237 million people currently without access, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is proposing the development of 10,000 clean energy micro and minigrids over the next 5 years. [The rise of the microgrid] The first such large scale announcement for these technologies, which are anticipated to play a major role in electrification globally, the average size of systems is estimated at 50kW and these will be implemented and managed by energy service companies.
While the renewable energy sector is noted for its employment opportunities, a novel Cape Town-based initiative plans to use it to harness Africa’s youth, among whom there is high levels of unemployment. Green Shift Africa aims to develop entrepreneurship activities and will provide education and training to participants. [Clean energy sector to empower Africa’s youth] “We are using education and training as tools of engagement with the energy sector,” Green Shift Africa CEO Steve Arowolo told Engerati. “We are championing a cause for African youth and we aim to leverage the vast opportunities in the green economy sector.”
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