This 17-22 September 2018, industry leaders all over the world are coming together to explore reinvention. Reinvention of ideas, strategies, sustainability and the future.
The Conference of Electric Power Supply Industry 2018 (CEPSI 2018) is an annual event hosted each year by a country around East Asia and the Western Pacific region. This year, Malaysia will be playing host to the theme of “Reimagining Utility of the Future“.
Brought to you by the Association of the Electricity Supply Industry of East Asia and the Western Pacific (AESIEAP) and Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB), CEPSI 2018 is a powerful platform for energy players to discuss the future of our world’s energy. The conference will cover eight topic categories. Here, we explore some of the trending topics under the categories that have made headlines over the past year.
1. Sustainability and Green Energy
You may have heard of Elon Musk’s bet with the Australian government to deliver the world’s largest lithium-ion battery in 100 days. The bet proved successful and showed that battery storage could solve some of the world’s electrification challenges. U.S.A., Chile and Indonesia are some countries who have proactively integrated energy storage systems. In Sumba Island, Indonesia, isolated communities benefit from a 400Kw flow battery, powering some 650,000 inhabitants on the rural island.
What’s even more powerful is integrating Renewable Energy (RE) with energy storage technology. The intermittent nature of RE (sun shining for a limited time, wind blowing at irregular intervals) poses a challenge which energy storage could resolve. The idea is to store energy generated by these ‘green’ sources, for use later. However, markets may still have some way to go in this industry, with high prices or cost being a major barrier.
2. Generation and Future Alternatives
As we look to the future, what are the trends that might shape our energy supply? Clean coal technology (CCT) is one of the green innovations leading the way, especially in a coal-dependent world. Technology such as Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS) help capture pollutants released from coal burning, though there is still a lot of ground to cover. In Malaysia, TNB’s Manjung 4 and 5 plants currently utilise ‘Ultra Supercritical’ technology – the current gold standard – for an improved efficiency of 40% compared to 36% from conventional coal firing system.
3. Transmission and Future Grid
drones are an increasingly popular innovation
Are Supergrids the next superpower of the future? The technology behind super grids allow high volumes of electricity to be transmitted over long distances. In Europe, countries are contemplating on the idea of an interconnected European grid to allow cross-border energy sharing. In South East Asia, ASEAN members Laos, Thailand and Malaysia recently inked an agreement for cross-border transmission, in the region’s first multilateral cross-border electricity project.
Another interesting evolution in the industry is the usage of new technology and digitised systems to manage grids – drones being one example. With its various capabilities, drones are an increasingly popular innovation that’s set to transform grid operations and maintenance.
4. Distribution and Advanced Network
Distribution systems and technologies age, just like transmission systems. How do companies ensure power reliability, while maintaining competitiveness and achieving cost value? With the Internet of Things (IOT) technology, distribution systems such as Advanced Distribution Management System (ADMS) are helping operators optimise distributed resources to increase overall grid efficiency.
5. Smart Grid and New Technology
Norway pledged to sell only electric cars by 2025, France set its target for 2040, and the U.K. soon followed with its own 2040 pledge. In Malaysia, power players are aiming to set up 125,000 charging stations in the country by 2020. In Singapore, small-scale trials of self-driving shuttles began in Nanyang Technology University, and more recently, the Singaporean government has planned for a mandated satellite-navigation system in all vehicles, opening doors for big data analysis and allowing large scale traffic monitoring.
Smart meters are another such innovation helping utilities manage energy consumption and generation intelligently. Singapore, China, India, Malaysia, and Indonesia are some countries within the region leading the pack in this area. How will our future cities look? Smart homes, connected devices, sustainable city management are all important elements of new technology.
6. ICT, Innovation and Cybersecurity
The turn of the 21st century has witnessed many revolutionary inventions, all pointing to the way of a more connected, digitised society. Blockchain is one technology that is gaining steam and making an impact across industries, from healthcare to finance and the energy industry.
Blockchain is one technology that is gaining steam
Smart contracts built on blockchain have the potential to revolutionise energy transactions across its value chain and business operations. This, along with other ICT innovations such as analytics, mobile apps, Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR/AR) are transforming utilities and changing the way they do business, compelling them to embrace digital technologies. The increasing adoption of ICT solutions has also placed the spotlight on cybersecurity i.e. to ensure that the solutions deployed are safe and secure to use.
7. Retail and Customer Service
‘The customer is always right’ goes the old adage. At the core of a utility’s business lies its customers and its people. How do you engage with a customer miles away, and keep them happy and informed? Sometimes, it’s the small things that count. TNB’s Home Energy Report is one example of an initiative driven purely for customers. The report is a personalised tool which empowers users with tips and information to help them use energy more efficiently. The ‘myTNB’ app is another such example of driving convenience and efficiency for customers.
More recently, we are also witnessing the rise of ‘prosumers’. Rather than simply consuming a product, consumers are now active ambassadors, commenters, and voices of your brand. Increased access to the Internet and the rise of social media have contributed to the easy flow of information. Consumers need to be at the heart of every brand – including utilities.
8. Business Transformation and Others
How do utilities and governments determine your electricity tariff rates every year? How are countries developing their electric supply industries? In Philippines and Malaysia for example, the Incentive Based Regulation (IBR) model has been adopted, to fruitful results.
In other developing and newly emerging markets such as Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, energy utilities are steadily expanding their power generation capacity through project financing.
If you’re interested to be part of CEPSI 2018, please visit https://www.cepsi2018kl.org