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Middle East, North Africa regions primed up for smart grid – market research

While still only picking up in the region, smart grid applications could be affording the Middle East and North Africa savings of up to $1 billion per year, a study from smart grid market research company Northeast Group said.

The smart metering market in the region is poised to reach sales of 16.1 million units by 2022, with a capitalization of $3.9 billion yearly. In the same year, 86 percent of homes and businesses in the region are expected to have smart meters.

"All countries in [the region] are facing high rates of electricity demand growth, and the Gulf countries have some of the highest levels of per capita electricity consumption and carbon emissions in the world," according to Northeast Group.

They add that demand management is becoming increasingly important and smart meters will be an important tool in these efforts.

"The actual savings could be much higher. Countries could then turn these savings into increased oil and gas exports," they add, in relation to the up to $1 billion in savings.

The report also says countries in the region are "aggressively pursuing" renewable sources of energy, noting the recent announcement from Saudi Arabia, which has reportedly committed to spend $109 billion to develop 41 GW of solar capacity over the next 20 years.

"Smart grid technologies will be instrumental in helping these countries incorporate intermittent renewable resources," according to Northeast Group.

Policies are also being introduced that experiment with ways to help curb domestic consumption of fossil fuels, including feed-in tariffs for renewables, conservation outreach campaigns, and improved electricity pricing mechanisms.

"Governments are realizing they must incentivize energy conservation and are beginning to invest in the technologies necessary to make their grids smarter," said the Washington, D.C.-based research firm. "Smart city concepts such as Masdar City in the [United Arab Emirates] and the Pearl-Qatar show that smart grid technologies will be a feature of Gulf infrastructure investments over the next decade." – EcoSeed Staff

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