Smart meters on the rise in North America and Asia-Pacific.
As part as its M2M Research Series, Berg Insight has just released a report on the Smart Metering Market in North America and Asia-Pacific.
Smart grid is one of the latest buzzwords in the energy sector and has become a catch-phrase for politicians, academics and industry leaders alike. The vision is to exploit the latest technology to address the immense challenge of securing the energy supply in the 21st century. The concept of smart grids is at times put forward as a revolutionary solution to a wide array of problems, ranging from the West’s dependency on Middle Eastern oil to global warming. A more realistic expectation is however that smart grid technology will contribute to improved efficiency and reliability in energy distribution and better optimisation in allocation of resources and utilisation of assets.
Smart metering is widely regarded as the cornerstone for future smart grids. In the history of metering technology, smart metering represents the third stage in a chain of developments spanning more than 100 years. Manually read meters have been around since the advent of the utility industry in the late 19th century. Over the last three decades, automated meter reading (AMR) based on one-way or two-way communication has evolved. Smart metering broadens the scope of AMR beyond just meter readings with additional features enabled by two-way data communication. A smart metering solution generally delivers a range of applications using an infrastructure comprising networked meters, communication networks and data collection and management systems.
Smart electricity meters are being introduced all over the developed world. North America and Asia-Pacific are two of the most dynamic market regions that will see massive projects realised over the next five to ten years. Berg Insight forecasts that the installed base of smart electricity meters in North America will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 31.3 percent between 2009 and 2015 to reach 78.3 million units at the end of the period. Asia-Pacific is projected to see the installed base of smart meters soar from a low level to 116.5 million units by 2015.
North America has the world’s highest penetration for automatic meter reading, exceeding 50 percent. Over the past years, many of the largest utilities in the US have embarked on ambitious smart grid schemes where one of the main objectives is to deploy second generation advanced metering infrastructure. AEP, PG&E, Southern California Edison, Southern Company and Oncor are some of the largest utility groups having committed to full-scale rollouts to all customers.
Furthermore there are numerous projects among medium sized and small utilities throughout the country. National and state policies play a major role in shaping developments. The US market received a major boost through the Obama Administration’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that includes US$ 43 billion ear-marked for the energy sector plus tax incentives. A number of states, including California, Texas, Florida and Pennsylvania have approved utility plans for massive smart meter deployments, while others such as Virginia have turned down major project proposals. In Canada, the states of Ontario and British Columbia have introduced a mandatory requirement for smart electricity meters for all customers by 2010 and 2012 respectively. BC Hydro will start Canada’s largest project to date in 2010, involving 1.8 million metering points.
Asia-Pacific is in an early phase of the adoption of smart metering technology. Large-scale rollouts to residential customers have only recently begun in Japan and South Korea, while China remains in the piloting stage. National and industry leaders do however have clear visions for the adoption of the technology over the course of this decade. South Korea has adopted a national plan for the construction of a smart grid by 2020. Japan already has the world’s most advanced power grid monitoring systems in place and several of the leading utilities have announced plans for smart meter deployments over the next ten years. China is investing massively in the expansion of the nation’s energy infrastructure to keep up with the rapidly increasing power demand. State Grid Corporation of China is preparing for a nationwide rollout of smart meters to all electricity customers from the mid-2010s. Australia and New Zealand began massive installations of smart meters at the end of the last decade. Adoption is driven by regulations in the case of Australia and by the main industry players in New Zealand.