As with most new businesses, the development of Smart Grid started with research a few years ago. Currently, it seems that half of the world is talking about this new business. Still, the number of conferences in 2011 is higher than the number of Smart Grid demonstration projects. This might change in 2012, as many initiatives have started this year and others have plans to start next year, which will increase the demonstration projects around the globe (i.e. in the U.S., China, Japan, South Korea, Germany, and the Netherlands to name a few). My colleague, Rob Wilhite, has written a blog on developments in the U.S. after he participated in a meeting with members of President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness in a “listening and action session on the Smart Grid and energy”. Peter Vaessen, another colleague, reports about his recent experience in China, where he noticed Smart Grid activities on two ends of the power spectrum, on ultra high voltage and on low voltage levels.
Two weeks ago, the Dutch ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation launched a 16 million euro program to support 5 to 10 Smart Grid pilot projects. Although many companies in the Netherlands show interest, this figure is small compared to the German eEnergy programme of 140 million euro (see also www.e-energy.de/en/). Also, the South Korean government has plans to spend 64.5 billion won (about 42.5 million euro) in Jeju’s Testbed, for which 10 consortia are developing and testing their technologies and business models (see also www.smartgrid.or.kr/10eng3-1).
The results of the demonstrations and pilot projects will show us what technologies and services are interesting, both from a technical, economic, and especially from a societal point of view. Although, the outcome might differ from region to region. Within the next few years, there should be an increase in business for companies investing in the aforementioned pilot projects. But let’s focus on the demonstration phase first.
Are you involved in an existing pilot project? I’m interested to learn more, so please share your ideas and experiences with others.
By: Frits Verheij