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Smart Grid Deployment Key to Asia-Pacific's Energy Future

Chinese Taipei, 24 August 2011 - As the world moves toward embracing renewable energy solutions, the adoption of smart grid technology is vital to the economic and environmental future of the APEC region.

Smart grids are one of the key conduits to increasing the adoption rate of renewable energy technologies, said Dr. Jerry Ou, Director-General of Chinese Taipei's Ministry of Economic Affairs' Energy Bureau, at the opening of the APEC workshop on addressing challenges in deploying Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and smart grids.

"The adoption of renewable energy technologies and the deployment of AMI and smart grids are potential solutions for energy crises and environmental protection," said Dr. Ou.

Developing smart grids and deploying AMI to facilitate the delivery of energy to homes and businesses is also important because it enables the flow of new and renewable energy sources to consumers.

"To move forward, we need a new kind of electric grid that is capable of delivering new and renewable energy sources such as wind or solar," said Dr. Tom Lee, Chair of the APEC Expert Group on New and Renewable Energy Technologies.

"We need a grid that can automate and manage the increasing complexities and electrical needs of the 21st century."

APEC recognizes smart grid development as a way to address climate change and improve energy efficiency. Smart grids also promote green growth, which is a key priority for APEC during the 2011 US host year. AMI systems are viewed as foundational technology for smart grids.

Dr. Ou underscored the value of smart grids and AMI technology to APEC economies because of its economic and environmental significance if it is deployed globally.

The recent disaster in Fukushima, Japan highlighted the need for "demand-side management solutions" to solve electricity shortage crises - problems that may increase with growing environmental and energy demand challenges.

In 2010, the value of smart meters worldwide was US$4.3 billion, and may reach as much as US$15.2 billion by 2016. Currently within APEC economies, about 12 million smart meters are deployed in the US, with penetration rate reaching 8.7%. China has purchased 48 million smart meters in the past 2 years. Chinese Taipei also announced an AMI deployment plan in 2010.

AMI is an integral component of smart grid development as it enables two-way communication between consumers and suppliers. An AMI system typically consists of a "smart meter" at the customer's premise, a communications network between the smart meter and the utility, and a system to monitor the data.

"Increasing the adoption rate of renewable energy technologies is dependent on smart grid development, which is in turn dependent on the development of AMI", Dr. Ou said.

"AMI is considered as the key to turn current power systems into intelligent ones, as it measures, collects and analyzes energy usage."

The two-day APEC workshop on AMI and smart grids follows the 37th APEC Expert Group on New and Renewable Energy Technologies Meeting that was held earlier this week in Chinese Taipei, where energy experts from APEC economies gathered to discuss their current energy priority needs.


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