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Smart Grids: Ever-important efficiency

Companies need not lose sight of the minor details

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Utilities in the Middle East are continually looking for new ways to improve their efficiency, particularly in the power sector.
Utilities in the Middle East are continually looking for new ways to improve their efficiency, particularly in the power sector.

Companies need not lose sight of the minor details

It can be important at times to take a step away from the bigger picture and appreciate the smaller details.

This is true in general life, and true in the utilities sector. When we talk about smart grids and energy efficiency matters on a large scale, we can sometimes not notice the smaller things we could be doing to save energy.

In an interview with Utilities Middle East this month, Eaton’s Thomas Gross alludes to exactly this point. “I think there is so much we can do right now to save energy and quite often we associate energy conservation with longer term things like the smart grid. I think it will be enormously helpful to have a smart grid and distributed power generation.”

“But if you look around today and see how much energy is being wasted, our message would be let’s get going on that now because there is tremendous savings that can be easily financially justified without government incentives or incentives from the utilities,” he says.

Energy efficiency can be as simple as turning off a light switch when you leave the room, or as complex as a multi-billion dollar grid change, but both need not be forgotten and it can be argued that both are as important as each other.

Gross goes into more depth on the topic of energy efficiency in this month’s interview feature. Another aspect of energy efficiency are the systems which are used by the sector. One such type of system is SCADA, another subject covered in this month’s issue.

Cables are another area where efficiency plays a huge part. With the amount of electricity being lost down cables startlingly high in some cases, it seems whoever comes up with the most efficient product could be in the position to clean up in a very profitable market, and provide a valuable service to the sector at the same time.

Efficiency can be used as a horrible marketing term, or even worse, management talk. But until we invent a new phrase, we need to keep striving towards new levels of efficiency, whether on a small or large scale.

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