Rising populations and limited access to electricity in much of Asia is heightening local pressure to do more with less when it comes to power supply, and utilities are eyeing connecting 300 million more smart meters by 2016 in the region, Trilliant Managing Director for the Asia Region Bryan Spear told Breaking Energy in a recent call.
Spear recently moved to Singapore to build out Trilliant’s team there, leveraging not only the company’s early technical successes in North America but also building on its recent deal with TNBR, part of one of Malaysia’s large utility groups. Trilliant, in partnership with Malaysian IT company Comintel is rolling out a demonstration project to show how its smart grid technology can work in regions where access to communication bands are limited. (Read more about that project here).
“The drivers of smart grid market growth in Asia are a little bit different than those in traditional developed markets in North America and Europe,” Spear said. “In Asia the drivers are electrification, supply-demand imbalances and enabling prepayment,” but Spears said that in many cases the technology solutions can be similar.
While standardization of equipment will remain a challenge region-wide as utilities and governments focus on local manufacturing and expertise content in the smart meter devices, the underlying communications infrastructure Trilliant has developed – based on the open 2.4 GHz band rather than more restricted communication bands – can work within the context of limited access to other communication network options.
“Utilities in various countries want their own meter suppliers,” Spear said, “and that’s the right way to go because then the utilities, [who are] the drivers behind this effort, are involved.”
It is important in emerging Asian economies to work within the context of a partnership model and to adjust strategy to match national priorities, Spear says, even when the end solution remains the same. The unique aspects of Trilliant’s technology mean it is able to “meet the need in the near term and can deploy proven technologies faster without the learning curve smart grid has had in North America and Europe,” he said.