The Smart Grid market worldwide is forecast to witness a compound annual growth rate of 26.6 percent, reaching USD125 billion by 2017, with 75 percent of Europe anticipated to be smart grid-enabled by 2018, the report said. While adoption in the GCC has been sluggish, regional countries face the challenge of addressing their growing power needs due to massive economic diversification and industrialization activities. In the next five years, the GCC is expected to invest close to USD73 billion to boost generation capacity by 36GW and improve power transmission and distribution infrastructure, with a portion of this sum anticipated to be funneled into Smart Grid solutions, according to the report.
“As peak electricity demand in the region grows, it is important for nations to invest in Smart Grid solutions to enhance energy efficiency, manage demand, and integrate renewable energy sources into the grid while improving their reliability and stability,” said Sitaram Chodimella, Head of Smart Grid Division, Middle East at Siemens LLC. “We see enormous potential for implementing Smart Grid solutions from Siemens in the GCC, especially as the region moves towards economic diversification and increased reliance on renewable energy.”
Siemens provides a comprehensive suite of Smart Grid solutions and services for the protection, automation, planning, monitoring and diagnosis of grid infrastructure, including for rail electrification and smart metering. The company is implementing Qatar’s first Smart Metering solution under a EUR10 million turnkey contract with Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa). The project will meas-ure energy demand and help manage it during peak load periods, while seeking to identify ways to improve the billing process with customers.
“Peak electricity demand in the GCC has grown by more than 65 per cent from 2002 to 2010. Based on today’s growth rate, demand for energy by 2030 is forecast to expand at a compound annual growth rate of about 8 per cent. The project by Sie-mens for implementing Qatar’s first smart metering solution under a EUR10 million turnkey contract with Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa) will measure energy demand and help manage it during peak load periods. The Pro-ject will also seek to identify ways to improve the billing process with customers,” said Abhay Bhargava, Head, Energy and Power Systems Practice, Middle East and North Africa, Frost & Sullivan.
While there have been announcements about projects that include Smart Grid com-ponents, there are no finalized plans to implement the technology in its totality as a complete solution. The Frost & Sullivan report also outlines the benefits of smart grid to GCC utilities, such as improved network reliability and stability, increased network control, enabling the measurement of results of energy efficiency programs for en-hanced effectiveness, managing demand and reducing lifecycle costs.
Challenges in adopting Smart Grid solutions in the GCC persist, but the benefits are far greater. However, to maximize those benefits, utilities will have to make major changes to their infrastructure and the way they conduct business, while customizing Smart Grid solutions to their needs, the report said. Vendors will also be required to dedicate significant efforts into research and development activities, alliances, thought leadership, and support to utilities, to ensure successful implementation of the Smart Grid strategy, the report concluded.