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Smart grids to push APEC's renewable energy adoption

Posted: 26 Aug 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:smart grid? renewable energy? smart meter?

The APEC region has yet to experience the environmental and economic benefits that renewable energy claims to provide. Before anything else, the region needs to bolster its smart grid deployment, which is a key factor that will pave the way to increasing the adoption rate of renewable energy technologies, said Jerry Ou, director-general of Chinese Taipei's Ministry of Economic Affairs' Energy Bureau.

"The adoption of renewable energy technologies and the deployment of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and smart grids are potential solutions for energy crises and environmental protection," said Ou. Developing smart grids and deploying AMI to facilitate the delivery of energy to homes and businesses is also important because it enables the flow of new and renewable energy sources to consumers.

"To move forward, we need a new kind of electric grid that is capable of delivering new and renewable energy sources such as wind or solar," stated Tom Lee, chair of the APEC Expert Group on New and Renewable Energy Technologies. "We need a grid that can automate and manage the increasing complexities and electrical needs of the 21st century."

APEC recognizes smart grid development as a way to address climate change and improve energy efficiency. Smart grids also promote green growth while AMI systems are viewed as foundational technology for smart grids. Ou emphasized the value of smart grids and AMI technology to APEC economies because of its economic and environmental significance once deployed.

The recent disaster in Fukushima, Japan highlighted the need for demand-side management solutions to solve electricity shortage crisesproblems that may increase with growing environmental and energy demand challenges.

In 2010, smart meters worldwide were valued at $4.3 billion and expected to reach as much as $15.2 billion in 2016. Within APEC economies, about 12 million smart meters are deployed in the U.S., with penetration rate reaching 8.7 percent. China has purchased 48 million smart meters in the past two years while Chinese Taipei announced an AMI deployment plan in 2010.

"Increasing the adoption rate of renewable energy technologies is dependent on smart grid development, which is in turn dependent on the development of AMI", Ou said. "AMI is considered as the key to turn current power systems into intelligent ones, as it measures, collects and analyzes energy usage."

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