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Taiwan making major investment in smart grid technology

By Max Burkhalter
December 23, 2011
The Taiwanese government recently announced plans to install a nationwide smart grid network in an effort to improve the nation's utility infrastructure and boost energy efficiency throughout the country, Taiwan Today reported.

Construction on the new smart grid setup will begin in 2012, and the entire nation is expected to have access to smart meters and other similar utility technologies by 2030. The project was announced by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, and will attempt to capitalize on Taiwan's already considerable IT resources to revolutionize energy distribution, according to the report.

Ministry of Economic Affairs officials told audiences at a recent forum that the move to smart grid comes, in part, as a response to global initiatives to encourage more sustainable energy use.

"In response to the adoption of renewable energies and the universal call to reduce carbon emissions, countries around the world have started to set up smart grids. Taiwan will be an active participant in this global trend, and is poised to become a front-runner given the country’s leading edge in information communication technology," MOE officials explained at the forum, Taiwan Today reported.

In total, the project is expected to cost approximately $4.3 billion. These funds will be devoted to installing new metering technology at power stations, homes and businesses throughout the country, the report said. Developing infrastructure to support these meters is also a key consideration.

This project is largely motivated by Taiwan's current role in smart industries. The report explained the MOE has identified such industries as electric vehicle charging, home appliances, energy management, micro-grid technologies and power storage as key parts of the country's economy. Deploying smart grid systems throughout the nations is expected to help these sectors grow substantially moving forward.

Projects similar to Taiwan's proposed plans have been dominating the smart grid sector of late. Deployments headed by large private utilities and governments have been fueling the technologies growth up to this point, but smart grid is rapidly becoming more accessible for smaller municipalities as well.

According to a recent Greenbang report, cloud computing solutions for utility providers are enabling more cost-efficient smart grid deployments, allowing more towns and small cities to invest in the revolutionary utility technology. This is accomplished because the cloud reduces operating and IT expenses, making it easier to fund smart meter installations.

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