New research from the analyst firm Berg Insight says that the worldwide installed base of smart electricity meters will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 26.6 percent between 2010 and 2016 to reach 602.7 million at the end of the period.
During the next five years, penetration rates for smart metering technology are projected to increase from around 15–25 percent today to around 50 percent in Europe and North America and over 75 percent in Asia-Pacific. By 2020, penetration rates are expected to approach 100 percent in most developed countries with massive rollouts also taking place in new territories such as Latin America, India and the Middle East.
“Securing a sustainable supply of energy will be one of the greatest challenges for mankind in the 21st century”, said Tobias Ryberg, senior analyst, Berg Insight and author of the report. “Smart grid technologies will make a major contribution to achieving this goal by improving the efficiency at all levels of the electricity supply chain from generation to transmission, distribution and consumption. Smart meters are the gateways that connect consumers to the smart grid and enable them to interact with other players in the ecosystem.”
Berg Insight ranks Europe and North America as the most advanced adopters of smart metering technology today. A majority of the countries in Western Europe have passed legislation that requires nationwide rollouts before the end of this decade and a few such as Italy and Sweden already have fully operational systems.
All EU member states that have not already done so are required to perform a cost-benefit analysis of smart metering before September 2012. In the US, important states such as California and Texas have mandated the introduction of smart meters or given their approval for massive rollouts proposed by utilities. Furthermore the federal government has granted nearly US$5 billion in funding for smart grid projects that frequently involve smart meter rollouts.
China and other countries in East Asia are in an early phase of adoption but have very aggressive installation plans. The State Grid Corporation of China is currently deploying 50–60 million advanced electricity meters per year as preparation for the construction of a nationwide smart metering network within five years. The new generation of meters is prepared for two-way communication once a network connection becomes available.
Elsewhere in the region, South Korea has an ambitious plan for a nationwide smart grid network that is being implemented by the national utility KEPCO and in Japan the government is looking to smart meters as a part of the solution to the new challenges facing the country’s electricity industry.