Asia-Pacific and the transformation of electricity grids

Asia-Pacific, home to more than half the world’s population and some of its most rapidly expanding economies, is set to play a pivotal role in the energy transition in the coming years as it faces the challenges of meeting rising power demand whilst also working towards carbon reduction goals.

Strategies to tackle these challenges include decreasing reliance on coal by investing in renewable sources and electrification, which need to be combined with the modernisation of energy systems, including smarter, more digital and resilient grids. 

Gridspertise, founded in 2021 to offer cutting-edge sustainable solutions for the transformation of electricity networks, aims to be a trusted partner to distribution system operators (DSOs) in Asia-Pacific as they accelerate digitalisation. Building on the 20-year experience in smart grids of its parent company, Enel, with 75.7 million connection points in eight different countries and more than 2.3 million km of electricity grids, it can contribute significantly to the transformation of networks into sustainable and reliable smart grids. Dozens of power grid operators have already turned to Gridspertise as their strategic partner to accelerate the digitalisation of their distribution networks to the benefit of millions of customers across Europe and South America.

Smart metering expansion

Asia-Pacific is the world’s biggest metering market with around 1.6 billion electricity and gas customers, research from Berg Insight shows. The installed base of smart electricity meters is forecasted to grow steadily over the coming years, from 757.7 million in 2021 to 1.1 billion in 2027.

Smart meters are the first step towards grid digitalisation, increasing resilience, efficiency, and sustainability of the network. Furthermore, they may be seen as a potential remedy for operational losses. 

Gridspertise’s latest generation of smart meters can increase resilience with information on consumption, allowing for real-time monitoring of electricity use, advanced management of the technical parameters of the grid, and the detection of critical events such as blackouts in near-real time. They also improve billing and collection efficiencies and enable data-driven inspection through energy balance and big-data analytics. In addition, Gridspertise Meter data management systems help with the consolidation of data, use readings to analyse trends and resolve issues related to meter tampering, outages, and energy theft. 

As of today, Gridspertise has produced over 85 million smart meters based on PLC technology and is enriching its portfolio with interoperable solutions, including hybrid ones. For this reason, in addition to collaborating with technology partners, Gridspertise has joined the G3 PLC Alliance with the aim of including the technology in its portfolio to tackle the needs of DSOs in different geographies and provide a competitive solution for the APAC region.

Grid resilience and climate change

According to SP Group’s 2021 Smart Grid Index, North American utilities are leading smart grid development, but Europe and Asia-Pacific are close behind, and the greatest grid improvement in Asia-Pacific in 2021 was seen in supply reliability.

Grid resilience has become increasingly important to withstand more severe and frequent weather events caused by climate change, as the heatwaves of 2022 led to wildfires and power cuts in India and Pakistan.

This, combined with the growing energy demand associated with the electrification of transportation and other final uses, results in higher complexity of power flows and the interplay between production and consumption, which require more intelligence at the edge and more adaptability to a dynamic grid.

To tackle these challenges, Gridspertise has developed the QEd - Quantum Edge® device, an all-in-one solution that digitalises essential grid activities, reducing the number of equipment and boosting the agility of secondary substations. QEd enables key network automation functions through customisable applications directly on the edge, such as Grid Automation Management, which can handle any service interruptions or outages quickly and effectively.

QEd can be integrated with new applications and customised according to specific business requirements to increase the resilience of the grids. Gridspertise has launched a Co-creation program to collaborate with Asia Pacific power grid operators to enrich the technology with new use cases and functionalities.

The future of grids in Asia-Pacific

Several countries in the region have been establishing net-zero targets for the 2050-60 period. Moreover, utilities face increasing generation from intermittent sources and the rise in demand linked to electric mobility and other end uses. Investing in grid technology is thus proving essential to support economies in their growth path while also cutting emissions.

The innovation and digitalisation tools offered by Gridspertise can advance this transformation. Its solutions can help local operators deal with the load growth, deploying investments in infrastructure in a cost-effective way, with an eye to quality and affordability.

Gridspertise’s solutions will be showcased at Enlit Asia, which will take place in Bangkok from the 20th to the 22nd of September 2022.

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