Millions being invested in smart grid renewable energy integration

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The market for technologies that help cost effective integratation of renewable energy with the smart grid will expand steadily through 2018 despite their mixed bag of success thus far, according to Pike Research.

Millions of dollars are being invested into microgrids, advanced energy storage and virtual power plants as technologies that will help utilities more easily and inexpensively integrate renewable energy generation at the transmission, distribution and residential levels.

"What we do know is that the fundamental architecture of today's electricity grid -- based on the idea of a top-down system predicated on unidirectional energy flows -- is becoming obsolete, and is unsuited for the increasing diversity and variability of power generation," said Pike Senior Research Analyst Peter Asmus. "Microgrids, VPPs, and other smart grid technologies represent the vanguard of a new business model that echoes, in many ways, the diversity and modularity of our rich telecommunications networks."

Revenue from smart grid renewables integration will grow from $3.8 billion in 2012 to just under $13 billion in 2018, the research concludes.

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