South America will invest $38.1 billion in modernizing the region’s power infrastructure from 2015 to 2025, according to a new study published on Monday by Northeast Group LLC.
The region's power sector is troubled by electricity theft, poor reliability and operational inefficiencies. Now, utilities in South America are looking to smart grid infrastructure to solve these problems and large-scale deployments are already underway.
"Brazil is by far the largest market in the region for smart grid investment," Ben Gardner, president of Northeast Group, said. "After several false starts, the country is now beginning large-scale deployments. In just the past year, Brazilian utilities have announced deployments of over 3m smart meters and will invest $25.6bn over the next 10 years.”
According to the study, utilities in the region view smart metering as the most effective tool for combating rampant electricity theft. Approximately nine percent of South America's electricity is stolen, with some service territories' theft rates exceeding 30 percent. Smart grid infrastructure will also help the region to incorporate vast renewable energy potential by helping to manage the intermittency of these resources.
“Beyond Brazil, countries such as Colombia, Ecuador, Chile and Argentina are serious about grid modernization and planning significant investment,” Gardner said. “In total, South America will invest $22.6bn in smart metering, $7.2bn in distribution automation and $8.3bn in other smart grid market segments over the forecast period."
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