According to a new report from Pike Research, the market for smart grid technologies will grow from $33bn annually in 2012 to $73bn by the end of 2020, totalling $494bn in cumulative revenue over that period.
There is still an enormous amount to be done to build smart grids around the world and the challenges ahead translate into strong growth for vendors of smart grid technologies – transmission upgrades, automation of substations and distribution, smart grid IT and smart meters. Many complex programmes based on these technologies have begun, but a number of countries with populations over 100 million have not yet seen any notable smart grid deployment activity and Africa has seen very little at all. All of this suggests that the market is likely to continue robust growth beyond 2020.
According to the Smart Grid Technologies report there is no all-encompassing smart grid solution that will work for all utilities. They are likely to take individual approaches, some starting with smart metering (as is the case in the UK) while others begin with transmission upgrades. But, with smart meter deployments estimated at 832 million during the forecast timeframe, it seems that quite a few utilities have yet to set out to implement an advanced metering infrastructure.
Review: There is a steady flow of news about smart grid developments around the world, but this report is a reminder that globally it’s not much more than scratching the surface. There’s a long way to go and a lot of ICT and other technology required in the coming years. It’s a huge green IT opportunity and no surprise that there is a frenzy of activity as technology companies continue to develop a variety of solutions to address different requirements.
What makes it more interesting is that, as the report says, there is no one simple approach to implementation. So for the foreseeable future it’s going to be a highly competitive market, with the coming together and breaking apart of partnerships and consortia to address specific market opportunities.