In Dustin Hoffman's The Graduate, the future resided in "just one word" - plastics. Today, the future would appear to be double barrelled: smart meters.
According to a report by Northeast Group LLC, the market for smart meters in emerging market countries alone could hit $49 billion by 2020. The Washington, D.C. based research firm has identified 25 nations that it says will have an average GDP growth rate of 4.3 percent over the next 5 years, compared to 1.7 percent for more mature economies.
These 25 countries are ripe for development of intelligent electricity grid schemes, underpinned by smart meters that will help manage and save energy use and support the introduction of renewable energy sources.
"These countries will represent a smart metering market alone of at least $27 billion and could reach $49 billion by 2020," Northeast says in a press release announcing its report, Emerging Markets Smart Grid: 25-Country Overview.
"The majority of smart grid activity to-date has taken place in well known markets in North America, Western Europe and East Asia," the release states. "These developed markets represent more than 95% of the current installed base of smart meters worldwide. However, there are a number of very attractive emerging market countries that have not received as much coverage and have very strong potential for smart metering and other smart grid projects. We view these 25 countries as representing the next wave of activity worldwide."
The report says that 11 of the 25 countries will begin smart grid deployment over the next 1-to-3 years: Brazil, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Mexico, Poland, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia and the United Arab Emirates.
The $49 billion forecast does not even include China or India. To paraphrase another famous line from the 1967 film: "Northeast, are you trying to seduce us?"
Photo: Galaxy fm via flickr