(MENAFN - Arab News) Smart grids offer a critical enabling technology to achieving the objectives spelled out in Abu Dhabi's 2030 Economic Vision and a tremendous market potential has opened up for existing control technologies to be integrated by leading utilities like Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA).
However, much remains to be done to develop comprehensive and holistic methods of assessing system performance and reliability, according to Amro Farid, assistant professor, engineering systems and management at Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, and research affiliate in the MIT Technology Development.
Farid's remarks were part of his keynote presentation on the second day at the Fleming Gulf's second Annual Smart Grids and Smart Meters Summit that was held in Abu Dhabi. He also participated in a panel discussion on the role of smart meters in demand side management and their promise of delivering value, highlighting their value not just to customers, but also to the utilities' operations.
Farid said: "In the near term, smart meters will deliver greater information to customers on their bills and electricity usage patterns and allow utilities to provide greater customer support in key functionality like outage management, power quality support, and mobile workforce deployment. In the mid-term smart grids can help to enable demand side management thus saving millions of dirhams in potential investment into new thermal power generation. Smart grids finally will enable the high penetration of renewable energy resources like solar and wind energy; thus allowing the UAE to achieve its 7 percent commitment to renewable energy."
The keynote presentation titled "The Future of the Electric Grid: Opportunities, Challenges and the Role of Control Systems," focused on the recent contributions of Farid in the MIT Future of the Electricity Grid study, as well as the soon-to-be-published IEEE Control Systems Society's Smart Grid Vision for Control Systems.
Farid added: "Smart grids are a key national infrastructure whose benefits cannot be fully quantified in the short or long term. Investments into the smart grid are in that regard is similar to investments into roads, bridges, water distribution and communications technology. The real challenge is in the system integration of the technologies to bring holistic system benefits. Utility leaders such as ADWEA have done much to integrate existing technologies."
The global smart meter market, which experienced double-digit growth during 2006-2011, is projected to grow further in 2012 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12 percent through 2017 and 8.2 billion, according to Lucintel, a leading global management consulting and market research firm. The report titled "Growth Opportunities in Global Smart Meters Market 2012-2017: Trends, Forecast, and Market Share Analysis" adds that with increased deployment by the electric utilities, smart meters are rapidly being adopted around the world as part of larger smart grid initiatives.
Farid is director of the Laboratory for Intelligent Integrated Networks of Engineering Systems (LIINES) at Masdar Institute. His lab is currently developing a "Smart Grid Simulator" which not only studies the physical flows of electrical power but also studies the control, operations and dispatching activities that go on in utilities, shedding new insights into how smart grid technologies when deployed will bring about new holistic system benefits and performance.
During his Bachelor's and Master's degree in mechanical engineering, Farid focused on system dynamics and control. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge Engineering Department, where he researched the re-configurability of integrated multi-layer control and automation systems. Farid has experience in numerous industrial sectors, including automotive, semiconductor and chemical sectors, and has contributed to their policy and regulation.
Since joining Masdar Institute, Farid has focused on the large-scale penetration of variable energy resources in the power grid and has maintained active contributions to the future of the electricity grid study, the IEEE Control Systems Society and the MIT-Masdar Institute initiative.
The Fleming Gulf's Second Annual Smart Grids and Smart Meters Summit in Abu Dhabi assessed the upgrading process of the existing power grids by integrating the Smart Grid technologies for the Middle East market.
Serving as a key pillar of innovation and human capital, Masdar Institute remains fundamental to Masdar's core objectives of developing Abu Dhabi's knowledge economy and finding solutions to humanity's toughest challenges such as climate change.
Established as an ongoing collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Masdar Institute integrates theory and practice to incubate a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, working to develop the critical thinkers and leaders of tomorrow. With its world-class faculty and top-tier students, the institute is committed to finding solutions to the challenges of clean energy and climate change through education and research.