Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Smart Meter Numbers

Smart meters have been getting a lot of coverage recently (there were four posts on the subject in The Green IT Review in February for example) so it's useful to have some measure of the scale.

According to a report from ABI Research the number of smart electricity meters installed worldwide was roughly 49 million in 2007, and is forecast to reach about 76 million this year. That's a 25% compound growth.

The company points out that all utilities are looking to smart metering as a way to be more efficient, better meet demand and respond to environmental requirements and are being encouraged by regulatory bodies, which use both the carrot and stick to promote advances in energy distribution and conservation.

The growth rate in take-up reflects a trend that ABI has seen over recent years; “We don’t think that the economic crisis is having a significant effect. Utilities’ smart metering deployments are typically multi-year plans developed in the context of regulated market environments, and not terribly susceptible to short-term economic fluctuations.” Growth is particularly strong in the US and Europe. Of course the reported $4.5bn of the US stimulus package that will apparently go towards smart metering will help.

The growth in smart meters opens up a variety of opportunities for IT vendors to tie energy information into enterprise solutions, both within the industry itself to manage supply, but also across the economy to monitor and manage energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. There's a lot of green IT innovation coming in the sector.

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