NEEDS was qualified this year, along with 32 international large scale candidates,for the Smart Grid Paris 2014 Award for Distribution its achievements in the Distribution Service Provider Project. The award, which is based on puplic voting, is also based on pre-defined criteria including: innovation, rapidity of implementation, pragmatism and replication, interest to the society and the utility, among others.
As published by the organizer, The "Distribution Service Provider" project outsources the electricity utility distribution services for radical transition to intelligence of the digital age. It includes building a large scale Smart Grid integrated with the networks re-engineering, introducing a benchmarking platform for a breakthrough in customer services, and balancing of energy and financial flows.
NEEDS received the trophy on June 11, 2014, the first day of the "SG Paris 2014",a 3-day event attended by participants from the utility business world such as ErDF, RTE, Alsthom, ABB, GCI, and many others. A 3-minutes video was prepared by NEEDS and presented at the awarding ceremony (link)
NEEDS Chairman, Dr. Mounir Yehia, stressed that "This award is dedicated to the teams from NEEDS, The Ministry of Energy and Water, Electricité du Liban, the Service Providers, and their affiliated companies".
The state utility of Lebanon, Electricité Du Liban (EDL), will roll out 1.2 million smart meter units from June 2014, as part of a US$200 million programme to re-engineer and expand the network, improve customer services as well as reverse the company's revenue losses, Metering.com has learnt.
EDL has selected three distribution service providers (DSP), or consortia, which are made up of energy companies such as France's ErDF, engineering companies and metering suppliers, including Itron, Echelon, Sagem and ZIV and Souwaidi Metering.
Dr. Mounir Yehia, chairman of NEEDS, a consulting and engineering company appointed by the Lebanese government as the programme manager, explains: "The metering is part of the DSP project.
"In this concept, the network reengineering and expansion, and the smart metering deployment are contractually in the same hand.
He added: "Building the smartness has to be integrated with cleaning the network."
In 2012, the DSPs were awarded four-year contracts to provide all network and customer services including deploying an average of 400,000 smart meters customers on successful completion of pilot tests, due for completion in June.
Itron, Echelon, Sagem and ZIV and Souwaidi Metering have commissioned around 4,000 meters across 25 sites of the Middle Eastern country since August 2013 as part of the pilot.
The full rollout will comprise 800 feeder meters, 14,000 transformer meters and 1.2 million customer meters.
The project will lead to savings of more than US$1 billion in four years, according to NEEDS.
Dr Yehia said: "The saving shall be part of reducing the financial debt of the utility which constitutes 52 per cent of the government budget debt in 2014, and 32 per cent of total governmental debt.
NEEDS was one of the main sponsors of the conference and the Annual Meeting of the Arab Academy of Sciences, which was attended by 56 delegates 26 invited talks from the Middle East and North Africa, Europe and North America. The conference began with a welcome address by, Prof. Elias Baydoun, the conference organizer, and a very inspiration Presidential address by His Excellency Prof. Adnan Badran, the President of the Arab Academy of Sciences. The conference had three targeted sessions in the areas of “Innovative Water Treatment Technologies for the Arab World”, “Alternate and Efficient Energy Systems for the Arab Middle East”, and “Environmental Remediation Strategies”. A panel discussion on “Smart Grids” followed the main technical sessions. The technical sessions included of two Keynote talks on Alternate Energy (Geothermal Energy, Alternate Solid Fuels), and a Keynote talk on Educational Programs on Sustainable Energy and Entrepreneurship.
The panel session on, “Smart Grids” had participants from both academia and industry and included a lively discussion on electricity conservation by minimizing both technical and nontechnical losses in the electric grid, especially in the Arab Countries. Dr. Mounir Yehia, Chairman of NEEDS chaired this session and presented the Lebanese Electric Utility Transformation through the Distribution Service Provider (DSP) project, actually implemented at the national level. Two of the three DSP’s, Butec Utility Services (BUS) and National Electrical Utility Company (NEUC), which sponsored also the organization of this session, contributed with an overview-presentation of the DSP project progress in their respective service areas.