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Smart grid market approaching critical maturation

By Donna Donnawitz
June 8, 2012
For the past few years, smart grid has been growing quickly, but mostly in the same direction - smart meter implementation. While smart meter deployment is a critical phase of the smart grid's development, it is an early stage of development. According to a recent Visiongain study, the smart grid is ready to mature beyond simple meter deployment in many regions. As a result, more actual grid technology will be upgraded in the near future and significant new investments will be made to further deployment.

Currently, smart grid is a haven for potential. The technology has the capacity to revolutionize the utility grid by using information technology solutions to provide real-time data on power use and give providers more control over energy distribution. These capabilities will allow utility providers to run a more reliable and flexible grid while also making electricity use more sustainable. However, the report said these capabilities are being held back by two primary road blocks: dealing with interoperability standards and renewable energy.

Addressing these two core issues is expected to be a priority during the next few years. The study found that when the two problems are resolved, smart grid could be poised for meteoric growth. In 2012 alone, the value of the global smart grid market will climb to $33.91 billion.

A major step toward the realization of smart grid's potential will take place during 2012 and 2013. During this time, analysts expect many utility providers to begin making the transition from deploying smart meters to actually upgrading the grid itself with more advanced capabilities. This will allow the technology to mature substantially and help fuel innovation in power delivery and consumption processes.

While the smart grid's maturation is expected to be significant, the study found that short-term investments in the technology could be somewhat limited because of the macroeconomic issues currently facing Europe and slow pace of recovery throughout other parts of the world. However, these problems will not stifle smart grid growth completely and the technology will break through fairly quickly and see strong growth overall.

Smart grid is helping revolutionize power consumption and delivery because it uses advanced networking technology to help utility providers deliver energy more efficiently. It also allows consumers to better track their own power use and adjust their practices accordingly. As a result, smart grid has the potential to not only revolutionize the utility grid, but also support many emerging sustainable technologies, such as renewable energy resources and electric vehicles.

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