Over the next 10 years, countries around the world will have to invest between US$140.2 billion to US$170.5 billion per year on traditional transmission and distribution infrastructure in order to keep up with growing electricity needs.
An additional US$8 billion to US$27.3 billion will be invested annually in smart grid infrastructure to improve the efficiency and reliability of transmission and distribution grids, according to the latest research carried out by Northeast Group, LLC.
"The significant need for new power generation capacity makes the headlines on a daily basis. But what is seldom discussed is the equally important need for new transmission and distribution infrastructure, which needs an enormous US$1.9 trillion in cumulative investment by 2024. This includes substations, power lines and associated equipment and new technology. Transmission and distribution investment typically represents about 40 per cent of total power infrastructure spending," said Ben Gardner, president of Northeast Group.
Cumulatively, the world will invest US$230.2 billion in distribution automation between 2014 and 2024. This will include spending on substation automation; fault detection, isolation and restoration (FDIR); volt/VAR optimization (VVO); and additional grid monitoring and control technologies in the distribution grid.
Increasing electrification rates
Regions around the world will vary in their rates of investment. However, the research shows that emerging markets will represent the largest growth in transmission and distribution spending. Africa and Southeast Asia will be the fastest growing regions as they develop new infrastructure to increase their electrification rates. [Southeast Asias Grid Expansion Plans Underway.]
Africa is suffering from a power crisis. Despite abundant low-carbon, low-cost energy resources, Africans face chronic energy shortages. The combined power generation capacity of Sub-Saharan Africas (SSA) 49 countries, with a total population of around 800 million people, is 80 GWno more than that of the Republic of Korea, whose population numbers roughly 50 million people and the total area of which is slightly smaller than that of Benin. Africas electricity access rate is amongst the lowest in the world. Almost 70 per cent of the continents population (nearly 600 million people) and 10 million small- and medium-sized enterprises have no access to electricity. Sub Saharan Africa accounts for nearly 45 per cent of people lacking electricity across the globe. Lack of access to modern energy services that are efficient and sustainable is an obstacle to economic growth, poverty reduction, and achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).The power sectors weakness constrains economic growth and development in the region.
India is expected to invest the largest amount in traditional transmission and distribution development investment. This is mainly in response to the countrys non-technical losses which in certain areas average 25 per cent to 55 per cent.
The country is expected to outpace China by 2024 with its transmission and distribution developments.
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