Smart Grid Tech Race Intensifies

on October 11, 2012 at 3:00 PM

A year ahead of a global meeting of energy leaders in Daegu, South Korea, the country’s push ahead on smartgrid technology development has been highlighted by a new report from the World Energy Council.

South Korea’s Jeju Island project will be the world’s largest smart grid system of its type when complete, the WEC said in announcing the new report today, one year ahead of the World Energy Congress set for Daegu.

“It is significant it is being held in Korea,” WEC Daegu 2013 Organizing Committee Chair and CEO of KEPCO Joong-Kyum Kim said. “Not only is the country at an exciting stage in its energy development as it seeks to increase its reliance on nuclear power, LNG and sustainable energy sources, but it is also located in the world’s most dynamic energy region.”

Read an interview with Joong-Kyum Kim on Breaking Energy here, and learn more about smart grid deployment in Asia here.

Advances in communications technology combined with pressure to create smarter and more effective energy infrastructure through targeted investment has underpinned an early race among a wide range of technology firms and generators to install and utilize smart meter and smart grid technology. As infrastructure aged and countries have focused on expanding their renewable power fleets, smart grids were viewed as being able to help maintain reliability standards while intermittent generation was added to a system built for fossil fuels.

But the confused variety of technology approaches and often uncoordinated installations along with broader confusion over regulatory and business models going forward have prevented a single technology type, much less a single company, from dominating the smart grid sector. That has created an atmosphere of fervid competition and prompted efforts by governments and business groups in countries like Korea to develop the best and most effective technology in preparation for wider rollouts as markets emerge.

“To facilitate the deployment of smart grids, the energy sector must develop a positive business case with a precise indication of how investments are paid for, reflecting the benefits for the wide range of stakeholders including consumers, utilities, information technology (IT) providers, manufacturers and the environment,” the WEC’s study on smart grids released today said.

Standardization and related implementation issues stand alongside financial challenges for the smart grid sector today, the report said. To download a PDF of the report, click here.