The global smart meter revolution
Smart metering: the crux of a ‘revolution’, according to Spain’s Telefonica. The British government calls them “the next generation” and if you ask France’s EDF, they’re the “smarter future”.
The new gas and electricity meters seem set to transform the way the world monitors its energy usage. You can see the universal appeal; the meters have several proposed benefits. Smart meters display near real-time data on energy use, which allows households and businesses to better manage their energy use. Plus, it brings an end to estimated billing. Consumers can budget better and energy suppliers deal with fewer billing complaints. It’s a win-win situation.
Providers all over the world recognise the demand for efficient energy use, thus smart meter programmes are being developed across the world. For example, the British government plans to install a smart meter in every home (over 26 million) by 2020. According to the government, some energy companies are starting to install smart meters now. The smart meters are free, although the cost of the roll out will already be covered in the consumer's bill. Why the huge rollout? The European Union asked its member states to consider smart meters as part of their efforts to reduce climate change. The British government conducted a study and adopted the aforementioned plan.
The EU has also encouraged other member states to rollout smart meters. A report from the European Commission states that along with the UK, Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxemburg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden “will proceed with large-scale roll-out of smart meters by 2020 or earlier, or have already done so. An EU sanctioned study found that the EU’s efforts could cut emissions by up to nine percent. Largely, EU governments and European energy providers are enthusiastic about the rollouts. For example, Germany will see the installation of 44 million smart meters by 2026 and a total investment of £18.73 billion in smart grids.
Around the world
While Europe has been planning rollouts, the rest of the world has been kick-starting its own smart meter revolution. Take Pakistan, for instance. Pakistani utility firms and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have announced that they are currently selecting a partner for the deployment of a smart meter project. The project’s first phase is set to begin by June 2017. In neighbouring India, utility firm Southern Power Distribution Company of Telangana has kick-started a prepaid meters pilot project. The outcome will help the Indian government decide whether to deploy prepaid electric meters.
Trials are also taking place in Singapore. The government is reported to be exploring the possibility of widespread smart meter deployment. According to the Business Times, most electricity meters in Singapore are currently read manually once every two months, together with gas and water meters. Singapore’s Energy Market Authority hopes to improve this. Along with the national water agency and Singapore Power, the Authority is working towards developing a solution for reading gas, electricity and water remotely and reliably.
In Nigeria, Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company (KEDC) is planning to establish a manufacturing plant for smart meters. The utility firm plans to construct the $250 million manufacturing plant in order to reach its smart meter installation targets in Kaduna, Kebbi, Zamfara and Sokoto states. KEDC aims to install 500,000 smart electric meters to its customers by 2021. Likewise, Kenya’s primary energy distributor plans to install 5,600 outdoor meters near customer premises.
Smart meters are also popular in the US. For instance, the Texan city of Rowlett will soon undergo an advanced metering infrastructure project. The project, in partnership with water conservation firm Pedal Valves, involves the replacement of approximately 18,000 automated water meters with new advanced water meters. The Pennsylvanian town of Cranberry is taking similar efforts. The town has received an approval to replace existing water meters with digital meters in a bid to improve its revenue collection. The town will replace 7,800 analogue meters with advanced water meters this year.
Evidently, smart meters are part of many government's plans to cut carbon emissions and save energy. The demand for efficient meters knows no geographical bounds, and energy companies around the world are responding to it.
Hydrostor receives $4m funding for A-CAES facility in Canada
Hydrostor has received $4m funding to develop a 300-500MW Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) facility in Canada.
The funding will be used to complete essential engineering and planning, and enable Hydrostor to plan construction.
The project will be modeled on Hydrostor’s commercially operating Goderich storage facility, providing up to 12 hours of energy storage.
Hydrostor’s A-CAES system supports Canada’s green economic transition by designing, building, and operating emissions-free energy storage facilities, and employing people, suppliers, and technologies from the oil and gas sector.
The Honorable Seamus O’Regan, Jr. Minister of Natural Resources, said: “Investing in clean technology will lower emissions and increase our competitiveness. This is how we get to net zero by 2050.”
A-CAES has the potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions by enabling the transition to a cleaner and more flexible electricity grid. Specifically, the low-impact and cost-effective technology will reduce the use of fossil fuels and will provide reliable and bankable energy storage solutions for utilities and regulators, while integrating renewable energy for sustainable growth.
Curtis VanWalleghem, Hydrostor’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are grateful for the federal government’s support of our long duration energy storage solution that is critical to enabling the clean energy transition. This made-in-Canada solution, with the support of NRCan and Sustainable Development Technology Canada, is ready to be widely deployed within Canada and globally to lower electricity rates and decarbonize the electricity sector."
The Rosamond A-CAES 500MW Project is under advanced development and targeting a 2024 launch. It is designed to turn California’s growing solar and wind resources into on-demand peak capacity while allowing for closure of fossil fuel generating stations.
Hydrostor closed US$37 million (C$49 million) in growth financing in September 2019.