The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates to save more than USD 270 billion investment in new infrastructure, by integrating participation of approximately 1 billion households and 11 billion smart appliances in interconnected electricity systems by 2040. The smart grid network is expected to be a key enabler for achieving these objectives, as it reduces transmission and distribution loss (especially in Asia-Pacific), incorporates greater renewable mix, helps manage rising peak demand, and provides improved grid stability. The roll-out of smart meters is being considered an integral part of the smart grid network stability. By the end of 2016, there were an estimated 700 million smart meters installed across the globe, with approximately half of the deployment in China alone. Both developing and developed economies are expected to strengthen their smart grid network further, and to establish a two-way communication for managing power consumption, by deploying more smart meters. According to the European Commission, the European region aims to replace 80% of the electricity meters with smart meters by 2020, or 200 million smart meters for electricity, resulting in further increase of smart grid capabilities.
Smart grid installation is an expensive exercise. The value of the US electric grid comprising of power plants, transformers, wires, and poles is more than USD 1 trillion. The total cost of replacing it with the smart grid is expected to be more than USD 4 trillion. The high installation cost is expected to be a critical factor in the deployment of smart grids, particularly in the developing nations. Further, the deployment of new generation sources, such as wind, rooftop solar as well as a new end-user base, such as electric vehicles, are expected to propel the need for infrastructural requirements further, thereby, increasing capital expenditure required for smart grid installation.
Smart grid has become the first solution for utilities operating in the Asia-Pacific region, to deal with the escalating demand for electricity. Japan and South Korea are estimated to be one of the favorite hotspots for smart grid investment. Japan’s leading power utility, plans for a complete rollout of the residential smart meter by 2020. As of May 2017, 10 million smart meters were deployed in Japan, and the country’s largest utility company, Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), expects to deploy 27 million residential smart meters within its service territory by 2020. India has also launched similar initiatives, which support smart grid deployment in the country to meet the increasing demand for electricity, and to deal with the high transmission and distribution loss. Large-scale deployment of smart meters is expected to drive the market in the region during the forecast period, 2018 - 2023.
The focus of the United States has not been on generation of electricity, as consumption patterns have not altered much. Instead, it emphasizes on the deployment of smart grid solution. Electric companies installed 65 million smart meters, covering more than 50% of the total US households, by 2015. Deployment reached approximately 70 million smart meters by the end of 2016, and is projected to reach 90 million by 2020. If smart grids are deployed fully across the United States, the country expects to save USD 130 billion annually, by 2019. Further, Canada with 100% electrification rate has installed smart meters in 70% of the country.
KEY PLAYERS: ABB Ltd, Cisco Systems Inc., Eaton Corporation PLC, General Electric Co., Itron Inc., Oracle Corporation, Osaki Electric Co. Ltd, S&C Electric Company Inc., Schneider Electric SE, Siemens AG, Hitachi Ltd
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