Sydney, Australia: There are USD 200 million worth of smart grid pilot projects in operation or about to start in Australia with most focusing on the potential for smart meters and demand management. Much of the current activity is being driven by government mandates that will see the roll out of nearly eight million smart meters across Australia, representing an investment of nearly USD2.1 million by 2015, according to Frost & Sullivan’s Strategic Analysis of the Australian Smart Grid Market – June 2010.
The analysis rates these projects as a crucial opportunity for ICT and IT services vendors to build partnerships with utilities and other stakeholders in the near term and to establish credibility in delivering smart grid solutions. Within the ICT sector, key spending trends will include the development of networking infrastructures for advanced metering projects, and millions of dollars for each project requiring an overhaul of supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), meter data management (MDM) and GIS. Likely areas of investment within the next few years are MDM systems, GIS software, networks and system integration.
The analysis examined the current status of and potential opportunities offered by an energy Internet using digital technology to enable multi-directional communication between the grid, suppliers and consumers to deliver efficient, economic, secure electricity.
The study estimates that the first full scale smart grid rollout is likely to occur around 2013 as the results from initial pilot programmes becomes available. The pace of rollouts of different smart grid technologies is expected to significantly vary depending on the validation of business cases, but overall investment is predicted to rise between USD4.6 billion and US$6.1 billion by 2015.
Lack of standardisation and concern over choosing the most appropriate technology that will deliver in the short and longer terms are the major technology challenges facing smart grid projects today. Utilities lay significant emphasis on technologies that can be implemented, are scalable and capable of integrating with futuristic demands.
Rajat Gupta, Consultant, Frost & Sullivan, comments, “In any emerging market, making the right technology investment means selecting systems that will be sustained and supported by the industry in the coming years. In the smart grid market, where investments are valued in the tens and hundreds of millions of dollars, Utilities are still figuring out what those systems will be. Therefore the challenge and opportunity for ICT vendors is to forge partnerships with the utilities and start ensuring that their solutions become part of the future of the power companies in the long term.”
Within the Asia Pacific region, other countries moving towards smart grid adoption include New Zealand, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and China. The developing countries of South East Asia, such as Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines are expected to monitor the experiences of other countries and assess the relevance of Smart Grid in local context before they decide to deploy Smart Grids.