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The future of current electric power systems

The future of current electric power systems

“It is safe to say that there is no sector or industry that has not been impacted by the ongoing digital transformation and the innovative technologies” said Ali Al Jassim, CEO, Etihad ESCO in an article of TECHNICAL REVIEW MIDDLE EAST on Monday, 24 September 2018.

Ali Al Jassim is the CEO of Etihad ESCO. (Image source: Etihad)

The future of current electric power systems

The advent of smartphones, social media, intelligent manufacturing and automation are set to transform the future of industries, including electric power systems. The electricity sector is poised to take advantage of the rapid digital transformation, with US$1.3 trillion of value estimated to be captured globally between the year 2016 and 2025.

Be it renewable energy, non-renewable energy or any other source of energy at generation – it doesn’t matter – power system is still going to play a pivotal role in future. Being an integral part in transmission and distribution (T&D) and with continuous growth in energy demand, power system has to be smart and robust to support sustainability.

With the introduction of smart automation, artificial intelligence and continuous monitoring a lot can be achieved. These can help in estimation of future loads, seasonal requirements on grid accordingly generation can be planned using sum of renewables and non-renewables source. Smart power systems can help in minimising T&D losses, also it can help in better maintenance, power quality, sustainability.

The disruptive convergence of digital technology advancements is marked by its customer-centric nature; on-demand, tailored consumption; and a decentralised infrastructure. As the Fourth Industrial Revolution, according to the World Economic Forum, ‘builds on the digital revolution and combines multiple technologies that are leading to unprecedented paradigm shifts in the economy, business, society, and individually,’ we need to ensure that the growth of electric power systems is in the right direction.

As energy efficiency and sustainability continue to be the biggest challenges we face today, the electric power industry is witnessing a period of sustained growth to cater to the rising energy needs. Modernisation initiatives such as the deployment of smart grid solutions will support the continuing growth of the sector’s infrastructure, as new facilities get added to the existing network and incorporated with the installed base. Grid intelligence will aid planners and operators in successfully navigating the increasing complexity of safe and reliable power supply and delivery.

Even as renewable power generation technologies expand to contribute to reducing the total amount of energy consumed, yet they cannot completely displace the necessity for new baseload generation. Fossil generation sources that provide cleaner and lower emissions will continue to be the mainstay of power generation additions. As the industry envisions its future, nuclear power is expected to grow in significance, but this will also give rise to challenges for industrialised countries.

Demand reduction and the need for new generation additions can be attained through conservation and efficiency improvements to an extent. For the installation of new substations in thickly populated urban areas with intense load densities, compact designs with reduced footprints will be imperative.

An ideal mix of power generation resources will encompass central station power, supported by renewable energy sources including wind and solar technologies, and eco-friendly distributed generation complemented by consumer demand side response programs. The right mix of these resources will lead to the creation of an efficient and feasible energy market with balance. A central and distributed generation capability will also reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, since renewable energy can be effectively used to serve load based on resource availability, in response to consumer demand.

The problems plaguing the current electric power system include aging infrastructure, unreliability, weather-related outages and security concerns. Energy loss during transmission, another major drawback of the existing power system, happens during the transmission of energy from large power plants to the consumers through extensive networks over long distances. Electricity transmission and distribution losses average about five per cent of the electricity being transmitted and distributed annually in the United States, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Despite the current challenges faced by the electric power industry, the opportunities for improvement are numerous. If integrated under appropriate interconnection standards, in microgrids, or in automated distribution systems, distributed resources can help improve grid reliability and resilience for customers who seek uninterrupted service.

There is no doubt that the need of the hour is a modern power system that is capable of supporting the development and deployment of increasingly clean energy and energy-efficiency technologies. Such systems will have certain essential features as identified now and may need more of them that will become apparent over time. Further development and implementation of a regulatory framework and business models that provide incentives for power generators, system operators and utilities that focus on reducing or eliminating pollution and other environmental damages, is the most essential feature. System reliability, protection of physical and virtual assets from malicious or accidental damages, enhancement of grid infrastructure, and safeguarding consumers from unfair pricing and other pitfalls must also be focus areas. An ideal electric power system will be the one that creates sustainable business models for firms in the power sector, while also achieving these goals.

The automation of distribution has immense potential in optimising the reliability and performance of distribution systems. As the industry aims to capitalize on the deployment of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) systems, major investments in new distribution automation and distribution management systems can be expected in the near future. The potential of digital technologies in accelerating the sector’s modernisation and growth is immense and can add exceptional shareholder, customer and environmental value. This is exactly what makes these times both exciting and challenging for our industry.

As we turn to leveraging the fundamentals of digitisation to increase the life cycle of energy infrastructure and to optimize electricity network flows, Energy Service companies are set to play an increasingly important role in regulating the electric power system to ensure the efficient use of energy by providing valuable data on energy losses in the system to customers and helping them resolve these issues.

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Internet of Things : More than Smart “Things”

Internet of Things : More than Smart “Things”

Per Ahmad Benafa, the Internet of Things (IoT): More than Smart “Things” is the network of physical objects accessed through the Internet. These objects contain embedded technology to interact with internal states or the external environment. In other words, when objects can sense and communicate, it changes how and where decisions are made, and who makes them.

By 2020, according to Ahmad, more than two thirds of computing devices will be other than computers, tablets and / or smart phones but sensors, terminals, household appliances, thermostats, televisions, automobiles, production machinery, urban infrastructure and many other “things” that will be optimally hooked onto the Internet for an improved service.

The following article focused on the Industrial space is written by Shayne Heffernan and published on March 28, 2017 by Live Trading News.com and could be best to date in illustrating the latest in the world of Internet.  It did citing a report of PricewaterhouseCoopers who is a multinational professional services network headquartered in London, UK and New York in the US.  Also, in the Middle East for more than 25 years, PwC provides industry-focused services for public and private clients, facilitating at the same time a good understanding of the forthcoming 4th Industrial Revolution of which the IoT could its first concrete expression.

The Next Big Thing: Industrial Internet of Things


The Chief Information Officer’s (CIO’s) role in defining a company’s strategy has become more important than ever, the report affirmed.Industrial companies are planning to commit approximately $907 million annually to their Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) initiatives, according to a new PwC report launched in coincidence with the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit (GMIS) in Abu Dhabi.

In its latest report, PwC said that managing the transition to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) will be a highly complex task, which CIOs cannot afford to miss out on. It points to studies that show that by 2020, companies will likely spend $1.7 trillion a year on the combined industrial and consumer Internet of Things (IoT) . That transformation to IIoT is materialising fast, cited a recent PwC Industry 4.0 Survey which found that industrial companies are planning to commit approximately $907 million annually to their IIoT initiatives. Those companies expect $421 billion in cost reductions and $493 billion in increased revenues annually from the implementation of IIoT, with 55 percent expecting a payback within two years.

The sheer size of the Industrial IoT opportunity, which PwC says far outweighs all expectations of the consumer oriented IoT, means that CIOs will have to take centre stage in leading a digital transformation that aligns strategy and technology with the manufacturing environment and the manufactured product.

Dr. Anil Khurana, Partner, Strategy & Innovation at PwC Middle East and the report’s lead author, said:”The IIoT will place huge demands on the CIO. It is indeed an opportunity that few will want to miss. First-mover status is critical to gaining a competitive edge as companies begin moving en masse to reap the benefit of digitization. Our research into the IIoT domain suggests that CIOs take six important steps towards their companies’ future digital transformation, which has been outlined at length in the report. These steps include key elements such as the development of a digital strategy, building capabilities and eventually, initiating pilot programmes.”

“Supporting the GMIS vision to promote manufacturing and industrial innovation; driving towards sustainable development; and contributing to wealth generation and prosperity, PwC has facilitated connections between enterprises of all sizes that are now embracing the 4th Industrial Revolution, or 4IR, and embracing IIoT. PwC has facilitated the development of the pilot programmes being discussed and presented at GMIS,” Dr. Khurana added.

Commenting on the report, Badr Al-Olama, Chief Executive Officer, Strata Manufacturing, and Head of the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit Organising Committee, said: “For the manufacturing sector, the Industrial Internet of Things is at the heart of 4IR. As PwC points out in this report, the CIO is the key driver in helping organisations to adopt IIoT, aligning business strategy with technology transformation. Their role is to ‘normalise’ innovation in large, complex organisations, drawing on a new capacity to intelligently connect people, processes and data through devices and sensors” ” For manufacturers, this creates the prospect of the digital factory where ‘smart’ manufacturing technologies are controlling energy, productivity and costs through real-time monitoring and application of data insights. PwC’s report sets out a roadmap for IIoT transformation, prepping the experts – including CIOs from leading global manufacturers – to put together a vision for manufacturing that is based on the 4IR technologies” he explained.

 

The Global Information Technology Report 2016

The Global Information Technology Report 2016

Information & Communication Technology in the MENA

How is the sector of information and communication technology (ICT) in the MENA ?  Could the ICT address the MENA region youth unemployment as it was claimed last year?  The World Economic Forum (WEF) provided elements of an answer to this question in its latest report The Global Information Technology Report 2016 made public on last Thursday, July 7th, 2016.

WEF ICT Figure 1

The Global ICT 2016 report starts with the assertion that : “We are at the dawn of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which represents a transition to a new set of systems, bringing together digital, biological, and physical technologies in new and powerful combinations.” and its study on the use of ICT world-wide, established a ranking of some 139 countries from around the world, based on indicators that relate, inter alia, to the political and regulatory environment and to the business environment, the technological infrastructure of each of the countries, the use of ICT by citizens as well as by business companies and by public administrations.  It concludes with an estimated impact on the economy and society of each of the countries.

The study was conducted in collaboration with the INSEAD, a French graduate business school with campuses in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

According to the Global Information Technology Report 2016, Finland, Switzerland, Sweden, Israel, Singapore, the Netherlands and the United States are leading the world when it comes to generating economic impact from investments in their respective ICT.

The Report adds that on average, this group of high-achieving economies at the pinnacle of its Networked Readiness Index (NRI) economic impact pillar scores 33% higher than other advanced economies and 100% more than emerging and developing economies.  The seven are all known for being early and enthusiastic adopters of ICT and their emergence is significant as it demonstrates that adoption of ICTs – coupled with a supportive enabling environment characterized by sound regulation, quality infrastructure and ready skills supply among other factors – can pave the way to wider benefits.

Europe remains at the technology frontier with seven out of the top 10 NRI countries being European.   For as far as the MENA is concerned, the UAE (26th) and Qatar (27th) continue to lead the Arab world when it comes to networked readiness.  The MENAP region (Middle East, North Africa, and Pakistan) is home to two of the biggest movers in this year’s rankings: Kuwait (61st, up 11) and Lebanon (88th, also up 11).

It ranked Morocco at the 78th and Tunisia at the 81st and at the other end of the spectrum, Algeria is at the 117th. Unlike Morocco and Tunisia, Algeria was found lagging in a majority of the areas of the country’s ICT.