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Boosting Efficiency with smart grids

by Ashish Saraf on Mar 16, 2014

The global market for smart grid technology is growing rapidly, with total spend expected to reach US$ 1 trillion by 2017. However, the implementation of the technology in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries is yet to take off with regional utilities targeting greater efficiencies to meet escalating peak demand, according to a Frost & Sullivan report.

The smart grid market worldwide is forecast to witness a compound annual growth rate of 26.6 per cent, reaching US$ 125 billion by 2017, with 75 per cent 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 industrialisation activities.

In the next five years, the GCC is expected to invest close to US$ 73 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.

“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 US$13.7 million turnkey contract with Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa). The project will measure 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 Gulf counties 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 eight per cent,” said Abhay Bhargava, Head, Energy and Power Systems Practice, Middle East and North Africa, Frost & Sullivan told UME.

“The project by Siemens for implementing Qatar’s first smart metering solution will measure energy demand and help manage it during peak load periods,” said Bhargava.

While there have been announcements about projects that include smart grid components, there are no finalised plans to implement the technology in its totality as a complete solution, according to the Frost & Sullivan report.

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