Remote microgrids will help meet soaring energy demand in the developing world


Peter Asmus,
Senior Analyst,
Pike Research
Boulder, CO, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — June 18, 2012 – Remote microgrids are ideally suited to help meet the surging appetite for more power in the developing world, according to a new report from Pike Research.

Demand for energy in regions including Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America is expected to grow in tandem with projected increases in human population and rising living standards among the chronically poor, according to Pike Research. Demand for energy, especially electricity, is growing much more rapidly in these nascent economies than the rate of expansion of conventional electricity grids in the major industrialized world.

According to the report the global remote microgrid market will expand from 349 MW of generation capacity in 2011 to over 1.1 GW by 2017, translating into total projected revenue for the sector of more than $10.2 billion by 2017.

“A widening recognition of the contribution renewable energy makes to rural development, lower health costs (linked to air pollution), energy independence, and climate change mitigation is shifting renewable energy from the fringe to the mainstream of sustainable economics,” says senior analyst Peter Asmus. “Remote microgrids can serve as the anchors of new, appropriate scale infrastructure, a shift to smarter ways to deliver humanitarian services to the poor.”

While remote microgrids actually represent the most commercially advanced of the microgrid sectors, they are still flying under the radar for many investors and vendors, the report notes. But that is changing as large companies active in a broad range of microgrid markets eye this sector, among them firms such as General Electric. The purchase of Powercorp of Darwin, Australia by Swiss transmission and distribution giant ABB is a clear sign that larger, well capitalized companies are beginning to recognize this sleeping giant of a microgrid market.

Pike Research defines a microgrid as an integrated energy system consisting of distributed energy resources and multiple electrical loads operating as a single, autonomous grid either in parallel to or “islanded” from the existing utility power grid.