Argentina looks towards smart grid


Buenos Aires, Argentina — (METERING.COM) — September 11, 2012 – Smart grid features in Argentina’s energy future, and two pilot projects are in preparation – that is the message from the government’s departments of energy and science, technology and innovation, at a seminar held in the capital last week.

Speaking at the event Ruth Ladenheim, planning secretary in the science ministry, said that smart grid had been identified as key in the rational use of energy in Argentina and will be included in the country’s national plan for science, technology and innovation to 2020.

“’Smart’ is all around us, and it’s about developing a smart society,” said Ladenheim, promising that an increasing number of smart energy projects can be expected to receive funding in the coming years.

“Smart grids are a win-win situation,” added energy secretary Daniel Cameron, noting that during this last winter maximum production was reached and there is a need to better manage demand and make more efficient use of energy.

The event was a meeting of the U.S-Argentina Binational Energy Working Group and was attended by approximately 200 representatives from government, utilities and companies in Argentina and from countries including Uruguay, Colombia and Ecuador. Representatives from the U.S. were Dan Ton from the Department of Energy and Cary Bloyd and Steve Widergren from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

The first day was devoted to sharing experiences of smart grid and the second to two round tables on standardization and pilot projects. The first of these found there is a need for regulation and standardization in Argentina, for example there is no standard for grid connection of small scale generation, and the meter standards need to be updated. However, there was concern about “reinventing the wheel,” and the work of for example the NIST should be used where possible. An Argentine organization should join the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel.

Pilots are also an important element in smart grid development, and experiences of other utilities and countries are of interest.

Several projects are already under way, each around a few hundred metering points, including those by Edenor in Buenos Aires, by EPEC in Córdoba, by Energía San Juan in San Juan, and by EDET in Tucumán.

It was also announced that two pilot projects are to be launched by the government. One will be with the Cooperative of Works and Public Services in Armstrong in the province of Santa Fe, and the other with the Electricity Cooperative of Trenque Lauquen in the province of Buenos Aires. Each will include at least 1,000 smart meters and will be launched within the next year. Currently project funding is being put in place.

The meeting was organized locally by the Energy Secretariat, the market administrator Cammesa, the transmission system operator Transener, and the distributors’ association Adeera.