Development of a country’s energy infrastructure is an important parameter to evaluate its growth. In the present decade, a country’s energy infrastructure is adjudged as equipped when it comprises of minimum setup and elements to integrate advanced technologies and improving infrastructure. The minimum elements include the electrification status, grid connectivity, transmission and distribution substations to monitor the electricity supply, high capacity transmission lines, capacitor banks, and step up and down transformers, among others. Countries in the ASEAN region are also working toward ensuring these elements in their respective power grids. According to the data provided by United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (UNESCAP) 2016, the electrification percentage of all the ASEAN countries have improved in the past decade.

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In 2016, countries including Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Brunei had achieved complete electrification. However, countries such as Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos were yet to achieve 100% electrification. The source for power generation in the ASEAN countries has been a mix of conventional and renewable energy. For instance, the countries such as Indonesia, Brunei, Vietnam, and Thailand depend heavily on conventional sources for power generation. On the other hand, countries such as Myanmar, Laos, and Malaysia are dependent on hydro power for generation of electricity. According to ASEAN, plans of action for energy cooperation (APAEC) 2016-2025, the countries are focusing on developing energy sustainability and enhancing the energy infrastructure with established connectivity. Moreover, the transmission and distribution infrastructure is also planned to be upgraded in order to reduce the T&D losses.

The electricity demand in these countries have also increased owing to the increasing population and urbanization. As a result, the ASEAN countries have started incorporating solar and wind energy sources in the energy mix. Moreover, these countries are dependent on distributed generation systems which are used as a source of power supply by injecting the surplus electricity to the grid during the time of peak load. In order to implement these emerging requirements and advancements in infrastructure in the grid, smart grid is a pre-requisite for the same.

Smart grid uses two-way communication for smooth and transparent supply of electricity from generators to consumers, thereby ensuring reduced power disruptions and improved power quality. In order to enhance the existing energy infrastructure by setting up a smart grid project for a country, the existing energy infrastructure should be capable to integrate the smart grid associated hardware and software components in the grid. Moreover, for smart grid hardware and software to work, communication and IT infrastructure also play a crucial role in integrating all the product offerings with the IT infrastructure using communication protocols. The network infrastructure helps to communicate the smart grid products within themselves, which, in return, helps the power utilities to gain real-time insights about the flow of electricity, time of peak demand, integration of distributed generation units in the grid, reduce T&D losses, and transparent energy consumption and billing, among others.

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Amongst the ASEAN countries, Singapore has been declared as the smart nation, owing to its advanced energy infrastructure, smart mobility, enhanced safety, making the country more focused toward digitalization, thereby assuring smart, healthy and safe living country for its residents. The energy infrastructure of Singapore has been developed the most amongst all the ASEAN countries based on the smart grid implementation, grid reliability, capacity of transmission and distribution network and the average electrical system interruption duration index.