Masdar has said that smart metering grids will allow Abu Dhabi to achieve its Vision 2030 goals by helping to manage demand, while research has shown that demand for smart metering products is likely to grow by 12% over the next five years.
Market potential has opened up for existing control technologies to be integrated by utilities like Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA).
However, much remains to be done to develop comprehensive and holistic methods of assessing system performance and reliability, according to Dr Amro Farid, assistant professor of Engineering Systems and Management at Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, and research affiliate in the MIT Technology Development.
“In the near term, smart meters will deliver greater information to customers on their bills and electricity usage patterns and allow utilities to provide greater customer support in key functionality like outage management, power quality support, and mobile workforce deployment.
"In the mid-term, smart grids can help to enable demand-side management thus saving millions of dirhams in potential investment into new thermal power generation.
"Smart grids, finally, will enable the high penetration of renewable energy resources like solar and wind energy; thus allowing the UAE to achieve its 7% commitment to renewable energy," said Dr Farid, during his keynote presentation at the Fleming Gulf's second Annual Smart Grids and Smart Meters Summit, held in Abu Dhabi.
The global smart meter market, which experienced double-digit growth during 2006-2011, is projected to grow further in 2012 with a compound annual growth rate of 12% through 2017 when its value will reach $8.2bn, according to management consulting and market research firm Lucintel.
Dr Farid added: “Smart grids are a key national infrastructure whose benefits cannot be fully quantified in the short- or long-term. Investments into the smart grid in that regard is similar to investments into roads, bridges, water distribution and communications technology. The real challenge is in the system integration of the technologies to bring holistic system benefits. Utility leaders such as ADWEA have done much to integrate existing technologies.”