Diehl: Middle East primed for move to smart meters
Harsh weather conditions will help drive the move, says Frank Gutzeit.
Harsh weather conditions will help to drive the move towards intelligent smart metering in the Middle East, according to Diehl Metering board member Frank Gutzeit. He was speaking during Wetex (Water, Energy, Technology, and Environment Exhibition) 2014, held April 14-16 at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.
“What we are definitely seeing, and this is a main driver for our business success in terms of water, is the rapid advancement of the static principal which means that less and less mechanical meters are able to stand the conditions here in the Middle East,” Gutzeit said.
The extreme heat coupled with the sandy quality of the water here in the Middle East are notoriously tough on the mechanical parts which drive older style meters.
“These mechanical parts, which are traditionally composed of plastic, are really affected by influences such as speed of the flow and whether there is air included. With air, the speed would be much faster than with water. With sand, this is horrible and the mechanical parts will last for one or two years maximum. Now we are talking about static meters lasting for 10 years at least,” he said.
Gutzeit hopes that after installing these smart, static meters, the Middle East will be better placed to begin the process of smart grid management.
“I would say that the process between not measuring what you are consuming at all and really managing smart grids is a very long process. Comparing the situation here in the UAE with the rest of the world, I would say here we are right in the middle of that process. We have started already because we have the awareness of how important it is to monitor consumption and to install infrastructure which is capable of supporting and managing your data. We have a lot of ideas to develop this even further ahead,” he said.
Gutzeit also believes that the Middle East should look to Europe for ways to maximise its use of smart metering.
Scandinavian countries, particularly Denmark, have been using smart meters for a number of years and are now some distance ahead of the rest of the world.
“I would say it’s not just the consumption of energy the end consumer has to pay for. In Scandinavia, even the value chain, the production, the distribution, the management is owned by shareholders, by the consumers. That’s why they have a natural interest in taking care of how efficiently their grids and their value chain is working. For years, this has driven them to optimise, step by step, the efficiency of the management of all there grids,” he said.
Diehl has installed over 20,000 smart water meters in Damman, Saudi Arabia and is hoping to continue this success throughout the Gulf region.