Developing Nations: Slow Responses to Pressing Problems

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

Sometimes the energy industry is in full agreement. Nobody disputes that developing countries need more energy from smarter, more efficient infrastructures to prosper.

Everybody can also see that limited and ageing technology is a huge barrier to peak demand. Governments realize their current infrastructures are simply not fit to help grow economies and lift people out of poverty.

Who denies an electric car isn’t a great example of a cheap, productive low-carbon and clean technology? And who denies it’s useless if you can’t power it?

In fact there are lots of widely accepted power related issues – all neatly summed up in a recent Gigaom blog post – that explain why developing nations are attracted to the smart grid concept:

1) Theft – Most developing country infrastructures don’t have basic grid accounting. That means no idea where power is being illegally siphoned off.

2) Quality – Even connected homes struggle with connection and power flows: automatic load balancing and distribution automation mean reliable services.

3) Growth – The promised increase in energy consumption means adding new customers, with new revenue, to help repay the investment.

4) Renewables – Introducing renewable energy means problems of intermittency and distributed power that need smart support.

5) Leapfrog – The most efficient smart infrastructure will provide long-term efficient operations and keep downward pressure on the cost of electricity.

But, despite the obvious need for more power, supported by smart technologies to monitor, protect, future-proof and trouble-shoot networks, the energy industry’s consensus doesn’t extend to how these problems should be solved.

Making it happen
The International Energy Agency (IEA) is strongly behind the smart grid drive and earlier this year talked up the need for action. David Elzinga, author of the Smart Grids Technology Roadmap Report wrote:

“Major international collaboration is needed to expand research, development, demonstration and deployment investment in all areas of smart grids.”

And that sums up why responses are slow. Agreeing on the problem is easy – agreeing on the solution is hard.

Sharing the knowledge
One of the problems facing developing countries is uncertainty and the report authors called for sharing of ideas, experience and expertise.

The debate is confused to the point of standstill by a bewildering array of costs, visions, voices and standards. Let’s agree to make it easier to deploy solutions now.

Our StartGrid™ solution is available now, tackles all the developing nation problems, and comes at a fraction of the costs involved with large SCADA systems and brand new infrastructures.

If you want to hear about how it can start solving problems right now then don’t be shy to get in touch.

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