US consulting firm E3 to advise Oman on electric vehicle regulatory framework

05 June 2018

US environmental consultancy Energy & Environmental Economics have been brought in by Oman’s Authority for Electricity Regulation to study the Sultanate’s path towards electric vehicle adoption.

Energy & Environmental Economics (E3) will advise the Sultanate of Oman on its venture to introduce electric vehicles (EVs). The San Fransisco-based consulting firm will conduct a review of international best practice within the electric vehicle (EV) sector and assess how regulatory frameworks globally have evolved in relation to supporting the adoption of both EVs and hybrids.

Oman’s future regulatory framework for electric vehicle adoption is in expert hands with E3, which has extensive experience in charging infrastructure and EV adoption. The consulting firm, which specialises in energy transition, public policy and technology-driven sustainability has been working extensively on EV adoption in the US as well as globally.

The Authority for Electricity Regulation made the appointment of E3 public on Twitter last week, stating: “The authority appoints E3 to provide an assessment of the key regulatory issues relevant to the use of electric vehicles in Oman.”

The firm has previously worked on a number of small and large-scale EV evaluations including designing a regulatory strategy for an EV infrastructure pilot in Southern California, advising the Port of Long Beach in its electrification through rate-discounts, and the design and implementation of an EV charging tariff in San Diego.

Working with San Diego Gas & Electric, E3 launched a pilot programme using pricing to efficiently integrate electric vehicle charging into the energy-grid back in 2014. The modelling used projected wholesale energy prices developed through E3’s stochastic production simulation tool; Renewable Energy Flexibility Model. 

Energy & Environmental Economics will advise Oman on electric vehicle regulatory framework

The tool will prove helpful in Oman, as the country prepares to shift away from its dependence on fossil fuels in the energy-grid in line with its economy. The Sultanate’s transition towards sustainable and renewable energy in conjunction with future projections for the EV market will also be taken into account by the consulting firm when designing the future of the regulatory framework.

By using forward projections and estimates, E3 will attempt to develop best practice for the transition based on international standards. These standards must ensure that Oman’s framework is in line with its Middle Eastern neighbours in terms of pricing, connection design, metering and public safety. The consulting firm will also observe the effect that tariffs will have in the Sultanate and their effects on public subsidies on the energy sector.

In the Forward Work Plan for 2018, the Authority for Electricity Regulation outlines the E3’s objectives as; “to carry out a review of international best practice in relation to the regulatory framework to support the introduction of Electric Vehicles including, but not limited to potential capital costs from development of public EV recharge stations, network and connection issues, safety issues, metering costs and the required licence and Code modifications.”

“As an initial step, the Authority wishes to retain experienced consulting advisers to undertake a high-level review of international best practice and to assess the extent to which those approaches could be adapted, given the specific circumstances in Oman. This initial work will make specific recommendations for steps that the Authority should consider immediately to facilitate the use of Electric Vehicles in Oman, together with broader recommendations for future studies.”

Electric vehicle and charging proponent in the Middle East, GreenParking, have jumped the gun on the new framework, having installed over 200 EV charging stations in Oman and the UAE. The intention of the project is to make the drive from Dubai to Muscat possible with an EV and to demonstrate that EVs are not just an environmentally friendly options for the future but that they are real options for car buyers today.

“Electric vehicles are the future of transport and they will soon be a common sight on the UAE’s roads. We are delighted to be helping to lay the foundations for a revolution in transport in the Middle East,” said Mr. Sam Alawiye, CEO GreenParking. “We plan to have a total of around 40 to 50 stations in Oman by the end of the year,” Alawiye concluded.

EY launches advanced tool to assess trustworthiness of AI technology

12 April 2019

Global professional services firm Ernst & Young has announced the release of an advanced analytical tool to assess the trustworthiness of artificial intelligence.

Enabled by Microsoft Azure, the EY Trusted AI platform released by the global professional services firm Ernst & Young produces a technical score of an artificial intelligence system by leveraging advanced analytics to evaluate its technical design, measuring risk drivers including its “objective, underlying technologies, technical operating environment and level of autonomy compared with human oversight.”

Aimed at helping to resolve the issue of trust in technology, which the firm contends is the biggest barrier to wider AI adoption, the new tool’s risk scoring model is based on the ‘EY Trusted AI conceptual framework’ launched last year, which speaks to embedding trust mechanisms in an AI system at the earliest stages around the core pillars of ethics, social responsibility, accountability and explainability, and reliability.

“Trust must be a front-line consideration, rather than a box to check after an AI system goes live,” said Keith Strier, EY’s Global Advisory Leader for Artificial Intelligence. “Unlike traditional software, which can be fixed, tested and patched, if a neural network is trained on biased data, it may be impossible to fix, and the entire investment could be lost.”AI system overviewUsers of the new solution such as AI developers, executive sponsors, and risk professionals will be able to garner deeper insights into a given AI system to better identify and mitigate risks unique to artificial intelligence technology, with the platform score produced by the tool subject to a complex multiplier based on the impact on users – taking into account potential unintended consequences such as social and ethical implications.

According to the firm, it’s the first solution designed to help enterprises evaluate, monitor and quantify the impact and trustworthiness of AI, while an evaluation of governance and control maturity further serves to reduce residual risks and allow greater planning – helping to safeguard “products, brands, relationships and reputations” in the contemporary risk environment.

“If AI is to reach its full potential, we need a more granular view – the ability to predict conditions that amplify risks and then target mitigation strategies for risks that may undermine trust, while still considering traditional system risks such as reliability, performance and security,” said EY Global Trusted Artificial Intelligence Advisory Leader Cathy Cobey.

Offered as a standalone or managed service – which will be regularly updated with new AI risk metrics, measurement techniques and monitoring tools – the new solution will be available to clients globally this year, with further features including a guided interactive, web-based interface and a function to drill down for additional detail, as well as the ability to perform dynamic risk forecasting on when an AI component changes – such as an agent’s functional capabilities or level of autonomy.