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Study: Central America & Caribbean Region to Invest $3.3bn in Smart Grid Infrastructure

August 1, 2017
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The Central America and Caribbean region's utilities face high electricity losses due to theft and significant challenges in incorporating the growth of renewable energy resources. These utilities will invest $3.3 billion in smart grid infrastructure over the next decade to address these challenges. To-date, the region has been slow to adopt smart grid infrastructure but backed by international development agencies, this is beginning to change and several flagship projects are in development, according to a new study published recently by Northeast Group, LLC.

"Central America will experience gradual growth in overall smart grid investment, led by the deployment of smart meters across the region," according to Ben Gardner, president of Northeast Group. "Investment will be driven by the combination of high electricity prices and high levels of non-technical losses -- two issues in the region that have not improved over the past decade. Support from international agencies such as the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), USTDA and others is now helping kick-start projects to address these problems throughout the region."

The region's most pressing problem is electricity theft, which has created challenging financial conditions for utilities and is spurring a number of smart metering efforts, many of which are already underway. At the same time, overall high crime rates -- particularly violent crime -- can make it difficult for utilities to secure permanent loss reductions and make deployments more challenging. In pilots throughout the region, smart grid infrastructure -- combined with community outreach -- has proven to be the most effective solution. In addition to loss reduction, Central American and Caribbean countries will deploy smart grid infrastructure to incorporate renewable energy, helping reduce dependence on expensive fuel imports.

With the region's strong ties to the United States both geographically and economically, American-based vendors are well-positioned to participate in the growing market. Aclara, Honeywell, Itron and Silver Spring Networks -- among others -- are already active in several projects. European-based vendors have also developed a presence in the region, including Landis+Gyr (Switzerland) and Ziv (Spain). Landis+Gyr recently won an award to deploy its smart metering solution in multiple countries across the region.


Source: Northeast Group LLC


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