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SE Asia seen leading smart grid infra market

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SE Asia seen leading smart grid infra market

Investments to shift from North America, Europe to emerging regions
/ 05:00 AM December 15, 2014

Power sector investors and suppliers alike, take heed. The Philippines and its Southeast Asian neighbors will be the largest markets in smart meters and interactive networks by 2024.

Southeast Asian countries will invest $13.6 billion in smart grid infrastructure between 2014 and 2024, according to Northeast Group LLC. By 2024, the largest markets will be Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Vietnam.

The Philippines alone is seen to invest $2.1 billion in smart meters, distribution automation, home energy management, information technology and other smart grid market segments, Northeast Group co-founder and president Ben Gardner told Inquirer via e-mail.

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Incidentally, Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) alone has programmed about $18 million for pilot testing on smart grid infrastructure in the Philippines, according to government data. Meralco is already running a 40,000-smart meter pilot with United States vendors G.E., Trilliant and Cisco, and German vendor Orga Systems.

The results of this pilot project will help determine further investments in smart meter infrastructure.

Philippine utilities and vendors are already working together with Philippine regulators on how to develop the smart grid sector to support widespread economic growth even in rural areas and to respond to an overall surge in power demand, industry sources said.

Smart grid investment over the next decade is seen to shift from North America and Europe to emerging regions such as Southeast Asia.

In a region that is bursting with power demand and is increasingly becoming vulnerable to natural disasters, smart grid infrastructure is fast becoming a buzzword.

“Southeast Asian countries are just beginning to modernize their electric infrastructure. Strong GDP growth of nearly 6 percent through 2018 and the corresponding growth in electricity demand will help lay the foundation for investment.

“Electrification programs and growth in renewable resources will also drive investment. Singapore is currently leading the region in development but later in the decade, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines will account for a significant smart grid investment,” according to Gardner.

Southeast Asian countries will deploy 37.3 million smart meters between 2014 and 2024, accounting for $8.8 billion in investment.

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The region will also invest $2.5 billion in distribution automation, or advanced monitoring and control of the distribution network with sensors and communications. Other smart grid segments will account for an additional investment of $2.2 billion.

“Northeast Group is projecting that there will be 5.8 million smart meters deployed in the Philippines by 2024. Regulators are also working on a roadmap and a regulatory framework for smart grid development,” Gardner said.

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