Rolling the smart grid ball

Many countries in the IMA region intend to transform towards smart grids through the digitalization of their power grid

Smart grid development within the India, Middle East and Africa (IMA) region is picking up pace.  Many of its 74 countries have already taken smart initiatives, set ambitious targets to improve the efficiency of energy use and started to diversify the electricity generation mix, all this while reducing the total cost.  Increasing urbanization and industrialization has created a rapidly growing need for stable and reliable supply of electricity. It seems impossible but this is where smart grids come in.

Smart grids in IMA will largely be a state – driven process, owing to government control of nearly all electricity activity throughout the region. This creates both opportunities and challenges for smart grid development. Governments have ample capital on hand and exhibit a strong desire to modernize their countries and their economies. ABB smart grid solutions offers these countries an excellent opportunity to modernize their infrastructure, lay the foundation for additional energy saving applications, and ultimately diversify their economies away from a dependence on oil and gas.

Many countries in the IMA region intend to transform towards smart grids through the digitalization of their power grid. This will create a business intelligence case for using the network information from the electrical systems that are integrated into a strong ICT platform infrastructure. ABB has made large investments in the acquisition and integration of Ventyx, Baldor, Epyon, Thomas & Betts, Tropos and Power-One to enhance its product portfolio. This enabled ABB to have operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT) under the same roof by significantly expanding its software portfolio; they have positioned ABB to become the global solar inverter market leader, they have also expanded ABB’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure and wireless communication offerings. We play a fundamental role in the evolution of power systems around the world with one of the largest portfolio of products and technologies for smart grid development.

Ultimately, smart grids may prove to be a solution that can bridge the competing interests of IMA region countries and create sustainable smart cities. Smart grids can be a tool to generate profits especially for Middle Eastern governments by reducing domestic demand for oil and gas – both through decreased overall demand and through the incorporation of renewable resources, which will free up more oil and natural gas for export. Additionally, instituting some level of dynamic pricing mechanisms within the domestic electricity market will raise additional funds, while reducing technical and non-technical losses will ease the cost of electricity subsidies.

The IMA region has started the smart grid ball rolling with the implementation of smart meters. Nevertheless, the evolution of the smart grid from this initial deployment of smart metering to a dynamic, intelligent network, which supports bi-directional communications between utilities and customers is just about to start.

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About the author

Imran Shafiq Khan

Hi, I am the Head of Smart Grids Industry Sector Initiative and Cyber Security Initiative in India, Middle East and Africa region.
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