Pike Research has released a report, entitled ‘Smart Grids in Europe’, that predicts investment in smart grid technologies in Europe will total $80.3bn between 2010 and 2020. Investment will reach a peak of $9.8bn in 2017, falling back to $9.1bn by 2020. By the end of the period almost 240 million smart meters will have been installed.
Smart grids will be an essential element in realising Europe’s low-carbon targets, says the report. Eric Woods, senior analyst at Pike, points out that there are different priorities for smart grids in Europe; “In particular, carbon reduction programs and energy efficiency are seen as primary drivers for smart grid and smart meter deployments. A program is taking shape that will take the use of smart grid technologies to another level over the next five to 10 years, linking them closely with the achievements of Europe’s 2020 goals.”
The EU’s target is a 20% reduction in GHG emission, 20% of energy provided by renewable sources and 20% improvement in energy efficiency by 2020, a plan enshrined in a range of national targets, laws, and regulatory orders. Smart grids are seen as an important low-carbon enabler, an essential part of the ultimate plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% (from 1990 levels) by 2050.
While smart meters are attracting most of the attention at the moment, transmission system upgrades will be the largest portion of investment between now and 2020, 37% of the total. Smart meters will be the next largest application category, followed by distribution automation and substation automation.
More details of the report and its coverage – trends, forecasts, players, etc - plus a free executive summary are available on Pike Research’s web site.
Well there’s lots to talk about in the smart grid market in Europe, although it will be difficult to draw a line under what is included in the revenues. The basic grid and meter infrastructure requirements can be defined (although the technologies employed can vary significantly between implementations), but there is a huge tail of hardware and software that can, and will, be added over time to make smart grids more effective and enhance user benefits.
For example, home energy management systems will become closely integrated with smart meter technology and devices (arguably smart grids will not reach their full potential until they are). Similarly, the applications and solutions that utilities will look to deploy to maximise the smart grid functionality will continue to grow for many years as the smart grids, and their capabilities, expand.