Smart is on the agenda of most electricity companies, and indeed a cornerstone of the Obama Administration’s energy policy. Aided by stimulus packages, significant investments are being made and a number of large scale projects have reached deployment stage. Smart grids are able to transform the energy industry, and a much broader group of industries are also affected by this. The other industries involved include IT, telecoms, white goods, renewables, management consultants, storage and transport. The electricity grid is becoming the enabler in all these changes, and by making it an intelligent grid and adding telecoms to it, the power will shift away from the electricity companies to the customers – and the appliances that will be developed will assist this process; some of that on a M2M basis. On term being used for these developments is ‘the Inter Net of things’.
This industry transformation will lead to a regulated monopoly in relation to the infrastructure, while a range of new services and applications that are becoming available over the infrastructure will create increased competition, as, with many new companies entering this retail field, that market will become truly contestable. This will, of course, also lead to friction with the existing players. Disruptive energy developments from new energy service providers, who will build new business models around distributed (renewable) energy, will also add to the dynamics of the emerging market.
A significantly large part of the population is interested in reducing energy costs and lowering their CO2 footprint and there is evidence that savings of around 30% are possible. This could largely offset the increases in electricity prices. This report is designed to provide a current market overview as well as observations which may assist investors, analysts and industry participants in making investment and business decisions.
Government approves funding for electric utilities in eight states to install smart grids; smart meter penetration reaches 18% of homes; DoE proposes Electricity Systems Hub to coordinate changes in transmission and distribution networks; US and European Union to collaborate on smart grid compatibility for devices and systems; market developments to April 2013.