Abu Dhabi: Data on electricity demand and supply — collected from the first smart grid project in the capital — will be shared with the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority.
A senior official from the world's first zero-carbon emission city, Masdar, told Gulf News that the aim is to make smart grids become part and parcel of future Abu Dhabi power grids.
The smart grid in Masdar will be operated by Siemens and will apply to Phase I of Masdar which includes one million square metres of land, Alan Frost, director of Masdar City, said.
He was speaking at a panel on the third day of the World Future Energy Summit 2011.
"Most power plants are built to serve the peak load, which often means that 20 per cent of power capacity lies idle most of the time.
Using this smart grid technology, we will attempt to match power demand and supply at Masdar so that excess capacity can be done away with," Frost said.
Unusual demand pattern
"Abu Dhabi has an unusual demand pattern, in that peak demand hours extend from about 8am to about midnight due to the use of air conditioning," Mustafa Aziz, senior applications specialist told Gulf News.
"Using smart grids could therefore smooth the peak [hour demand] and distribute the load, especially if time-of-use tariffs are also implemented," Aziz said.
He added that the utility system in Abu Dhabi, which had a peak demand of 8,200 megawatts of electricity in 2009, was already well-equipped to incorporate a smart grid system.
"Incorporating smart technologies will be an incremental process, and also require behavioural change on the part of consumers. But Abu Dhabi is well-equipped to deal with the first data collection stage of implementing smart grids, especially as it already has functional automatic metre readers to collect demand and supply data," Aziz said.
Aziz said that the roadmap to implementing such a technology was what was required.
"In my opinion, such a paradigm shift in power use could occur within five years, especially with the rate of development in Abu Dhabi," he said.
According to Aziz, the water and electricity supply have been growing at a rate up to 10 per cent on an annual basis.
Workable energy mix
"We are also working on including a significant component of renewable energy, mainly solar, within the energy mix by 2017, and this could also be incorporated easily into a smart grid system," he said.
Other experts at the panel said smart grid technologies were the way forward for the power sector, in addition to the use of renewable energy generation sources.
Currently, semi-smart grids exist in some parts of the world, with one of the most forward-looking systems operating in Denmark. However, one of the key challenges to implementing such a system is how to provide for cost-effective and practical power storage.