According to a new report, Worldwide Utility Smart Grid Spending Forecast, 2010-2015, expenditure on smart grid technology will increase globally by 2015.
Provided by IDC Energy Insights, the report estimates that smart grid spending will increase by 17.4 percent from 2010 to 2015 -- whereas overall spending will reach $46.4 billion.
It is expected that the Asia Pacific region will experience the most growth; with a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 33.7 percent.
IDC identified 14 smart grid project types in order to identify current and future trends of investment, and their subsequent priority ratings. The data was collated around technology types (including hardware, software and services), utility ownership (government or investor-based), and the kind of utilities available -- electricity only, or a combination of electric and gas. The regions surveyed were North America, Europe, the Asia/Pacific region and Latin America.
The report found that in North America, wide-ranging advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) and smart meter investment will lead to high expectations for demand response for 2014. In the future, it is predicted that investment will concentrate on feeder automation, volt/var optimization and automated fault restoration.
IDC views the North American market sector as the most dynamic area in the short-term; whereas Europe will pick up speed as the time draws closer to the EU's 2020 sustainability targets -- aiming to reach a 20 percent increase in energy efficiency, 20 percent reduction of CO2 emissions, and 20 percent growth of renewable energy sources.
China will become a strong investor in the Asia Pacific region due to its increasing levels of smart meter installation and sustainable energy focus. According to IDC, China has a goal of deploying 300 million smart meters by 2020.
Energy companies and utilities share the same concerns across the globe -- dwindling non-renewable energy resources, increasing consumer demand and rising business costs. Smart grid infrastructure may be able to relieve some of these burdens, however some of the investor profiles are stark in their differences -- due to government mandate, environmental legislation and country-wide support levels.
Image credit: Umberto Salvagnin