smart energy

For the developing countries which have been struggling with ageing and limited energy infrastructure, the prospects are looking up, writes Jonathan Spencer Jones, content analyst at Engerati, the sister portal to Metering & Smart Energy International.

From data in its Energy Investment Management platform Mercatus has found a definite shift with investment in advanced energy in developing countries matching that in the developed countries for the first time. And the carrot on top for investors is that such projects are yielding higher returns. [The emerging market opportunity for renewables] With US$12 trillion needed for the sector by 2040 and the needs of developing countries, including bringing electrification to about a fifth of the world’s population, a significant share of that is already starting to line up.

Smart grid funding

In order to ensure that such funding is effective the World Bank has launched a ‘results-based’ loan programme, in which disbursements are linked to results rather than expenditure. The first recipient is Indonesia’s state-owned electricity company PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) as part of its efforts to help boost the economy by providing much-needed infrastructure in parts of Sumatra. Among other activities power distribution lines and substations will be built, rehabilitated or upgraded, and customer outage management improved in order to reduce the frequency and duration of service interruptions. [Another ‘results-based’ loan aimed to improve Sumatra’s grid access]

Customer engagement

A key challenge facing utilities today is to build a closer relationship with their customers and to gain a better understanding of their needs and how as consumers they will participate in the energy transformation. In the US the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative has been gathering data over several years. The latest study finds that the differences in awareness and interest in smart grid technologies are more closely linked to consumer type than to geography and to the status of the local utility’s smart grid activities. [The Smart Grid-Empowered Consumer] “Aligning offerings with the varied consumer interests and concerns …, the smart grid industry has the potential to engage a broader spectrum of consumers than currently done to date,” the report concludes.

Regulation and adoption of smart energy

The possibility of a ‘Brexit’ from the European Union is under the spotlight currently with information and misinformation flowing in the run up to the June referendum. What you will believe depends very much on your own perspective on the issue and makes it difficult to gain any objective information. In this article we give some insights on the impact on the UK’s clean energy plans – but given that a potential future outside the EU is an unknown, commentators can’t be more specific than ‘could’, which of course is equivalent to ‘could not’. [Brexit-No good for UK’s clean energy plans]