WFES to underscore benefits of energy efficiency
UAE energy companies have been urged to fit smart metres
The 7th annual World Future Energy Summit (WFES), hosted by Masdar, to be held from January 20-22 at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, will be a key opportunity for governments, businesses and policy makers to debate the necessary measures to motivate Middle East consumers to make more efficient energy choices.
According to the International Energy Agency, existing buildings consume more than 40 per cent of total energy and generate close to 25 per cent of carbon emissions.
In the day-three WFES conference session "Energy Efficiency-The Built Environment", on January 22, global and Middle East experts will address the policy and technology interventions that could make our homes and offices more efficient, thus reducing energy demand and driving down costs for consumers.
Taking part in an engaging panel debate moderated by Mark Hopkins, Director of International Energy Efficiency at the UN Foundation, will be Ramiz Alaileh, Powerwise Manager of the UAE's Regulation and Supervision Bureau; Benoit Dubarle, UAE, Oman and Pakistan Country President for Schneider Electric; Christian Kramer, Head of Federal and European Affairs at KFW Banking Group; Bruce Schlein, Director of Corporate Sustainability of Citigroup; and David Walker, CEO of DNV GL, based in the Netherlands.
The adoption of smart metering technology, enabling real-time monitoring of electricity consumption and two-way communications between the utility and the consumer, is one important strategy for mitigating energy demand and reducing the environmental impact of the urban landscape.
"Smart metering not only allows utility companies to identify consumption patterns which inform their demand management strategies, it also enables engagement with consumers to inform them about ways to use electricity more wisely," said Ramiz Alaileh of the Abu Dhabi-based Regulation and Supervision Bureau.
Implementation costs, antiquated communications infrastructure and inadequate policy frameworks, particularly in countries reliant on energy subsidies, are among the barriers to smart metering adoption in the MENA region.
To date, only one utility in the UAE, Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority, has fully completed the phase-one roll-out of smart meters for electricity and water. Having a regulatory mandate in place was a key factor in ADWEA's decision to deploy the technology.
Yet the scale of projected energy demand growth and the need to accommodate an expansion in renewable energy supply will pave the way for more sustainable technologies, say the experts.
"[Smart metering] will become more important as energy sources diversify," said Wasim Taqqali, Utilities Industry Manager of Accenture Middle East. "The deployment of solar energy in the Gulf is gathering pace but the reliability and quality of power generated by renewable sources can vary. That has been the experience overseas in countries with a relatively high penetration of renewable energies.
Smart metering may therefore become extremely important in ensuring the smooth adoption of clean energies in the Middle East, helping to maintain security of supply and the satisfaction of the end-user."
The latest generation 'digital revenue meter' of Advanced Electronic Company based in Saudi Arabia will be one of more than 100 new product launches in clean technology and renewable energies on show on the World Future Energy Summit exhibition floor.
According to Naji El Haddad, WFES Show Director, the Summit conference will deliver global insights on the policy and business frameworks required to keep pace with such rapid technical innovation.
"At WFES 2014, we're enabling a broad cross section of stakeholders to discuss how policy and technology can work together to change behaviour, increase energy efficiency and achieve renewable energy targets. The depth of expertise across our conference programme dedicated to Energy Efficiency will shed new light on the possibilities to defer the huge capital investments required to supply the power and water needs of our cities and infrastructure."
Last year's World Future Energy Summit received more than 26,000 attendees and 650 exhibiting companies from 40 countries. As the centerpiece of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, the Emirate's global platform for the acceleration and widespread adoption of sustainable development and renewable energy, WFES expects to receive 30,000 attendees this year.
WFES 2014 will be co-located with the second International Water Summit and the inaugural EcoWASTE exhibition, also hosted by Masdar.