GTM: European smart grid market to increase 120%

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The smart grid market in Europe will experience considerable development over the next five years, as utilities across the region work to meet rigorous efficiency mandates and integrate an ongoing build-out of renewable energies into the grid, according to GTM Research's The Smart Grid in Europe 2012: Technologies, Market Forecasts and Utility Profiles. The report forecasts the cumulative European smart grid technology market to hit €3.1 billion in 2012, with that number set to increase 120 percent to €6.8 billion in 2016.

European Smart Metering Hotspots: Meters Installed, Confirmed Plans and 2020 Forecast. Credit: The Smart Grid in Europe 2012-2016: Technologies, Market Forecasts and Utility Profiles (GTM Research)

Level of Implementation of Smart Metering by European Country. Credit: The Smart Grid in Europe 2012-2016: Technologies, Market Forecasts and Utility Profiles (GTM Research)

Because of the ambitious EU 20-20-20 targets (20% renewable energy, 20% higher energy efficiency, 20% reduction in CO2 by 2020), Europe is far ahead of the U.S. with respect to generation capacity from renewables, according to the report's author, Strategic Consultant Geert-Jan van der Zanden.

"While a lot of the focus in the US has been on home energy management/home area network technologies, and now on distribution automation, much of the R&D in Europe has focused on integration of renewables and the creation of virtual power plants," van der Zanden told FierceSmartGrid. "Most of the capital investment in Europe is now going into smart metering, mandated by the European Commission, and will shift to charging infrastructure and integration of electric vehicles towards the end of the decade, for which various EU member states have set very ambitious goals."   

The realities of electricity distribution are different between the U.S. and Europe and this to a large extent determines the technological solutions applied. Europe has long had strict quality standards and fairly sophisticated SCADA and DMS/OMS in place, as well as automation of primary substations. Also, secondary substations in Europe are more robust than in the U.S., often connecting to 100-300 end points.

"This means that integration of micro-renewables is proving less problematic in Europe than it seems to be in the U.S," van der Zanden said. "Standardization for interoperability has also received a lot of attention in Europe early on. It is yet to be seen who, the U.S. or Europe, will best handle the key issue for value generation through smart grid technology: consumer engagement."

For more:
- see this release 
- view the full size charts here and here

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